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Scarlett Johansson opens up on ’embarrassing’ public controversies

Scarlett Johansson has opened up on ’embarrassing’ controversies (Picture: George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Scarlett Johansson has reflected on past controversies she’s been at the centre of, saying she’s ‘made a career’ of it.

However the Avengers star – who opened up in a new profile with The Gentlewoman – insisted she is ‘still a human’.

While she may be one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, mostly due to her box-office bacon-making as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, her time in the spotlight hasn’t been without its backlash, most notable her comments supporting director Woody Allen, saying she ‘believes him’ and ‘would work with him anytime’ (and going on to stand by the comments), as well as for accepting film roles many believed the cis-gendered white actress shouldn’t have been up for.

Most notably, in 2017 she was cast in Rupert Sanders’ movie Ghost in the Shell, which is a film adaptation of a Japanese manga series.

Not long after, she also raised eyebrows after accepting the role of a transgender man in another movie, Rub & Tug.

Despite releasing a statement – following intense backlash the role should have gone to an actor who is trans – directing people to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps (the actors have all played trans characters) she ended up withdrawing from the role and cited ‘recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting’.

Scarlett Johansson.

She referenced the pressures of stars in the public eye (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Asked about the controversial moments, she told the UK publication for its sping/summer 2021 issue: ‘Yeah. I’ve made a career out of it.’

She continued: ‘I’m going to have opinions about things, because that’s just who I am.

‘I mean, everyone has a hard time admitting when they’re wrong about stuff, and for all of that to come out publicly, it can be embarrassing. To have the experience of, Wow, I was really off mark there, or I wasn’t looking at the big picture, or I was inconsiderate…I’m also a person.’

Scarlett – who has zero social media presence – added she has been ‘recognising when it’s not your turn to speak’, however she dismisses the idea celebrities should be there to set a spotless example for the world.

The star said: ‘I don’t think actors have obligations to have a public role in society. Some people want to, but the idea that you’re obligated to because you’re in the public eye is unfair. You didn’t choose to be a politician, you’re an actor. Your job is to reflect our experience to ourselves; your job is to be a mirror for an audience, to be able to have an empathetic experience through art. That is what your job is.’

In 2019, Scarlett admitted she ‘mishandled’ the backlash to her casting in Rub & Tug and, speaking to Vanity Fair about the incident, the star said: ‘In hindsight, I mishandled that situation. I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it.

‘I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing—and how they felt in general about cis actors playing—transgender people. I wasn’t aware of that conversation—I was uneducated. So I learned a lot through that process.’

ScarJo continued: ‘I misjudged that…. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.’


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