Why Scarlett Johansson is 'thankful' for the debate that led her to drop out of a movie.

Just 10 days after announcing that she'd be starring in the upcoming Dante "Tex" Gill biopic, Scarlett Johansson has dropped out.

The controversial role would have seen Johansson as Gill, a transgender man and massage parlor operator who gained notoriety in the '70s and '80s.

There was immediate backlash to her casting, with a number of red flags apparent even in the film's announcement itself: The story, broken by Deadline, described Gill by his birth name and strongly hinted that the movie would center around the "fiery romance with her [sic] girlfriend."


In other words, it sounded a lot like this man's story was about to be turned into a lesbian love drama — which, according to one of Gill's relatives, he probably wouldn't have been super thrilled by.

Yikes.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Johansson's withdrawal from the film illustrates a respectful look at the importance of ethics in entertainment.

Her statement, provided to Out.com, expressed regret for her original defense of the casting and added that she realized she wasn't approaching the topic with the sensitivity it deserves.

"I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues," she said, highlighting stats provided by GLAAD showing a drop in trans representation between 2016 and 2017. "While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante's story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film."

Certainly, there will be people who view this move as an example of an internet mob, political correctness run amok, or something else of the sort. It's not.

People have strong opinions about casting decisions all the time. Sometimes the people upset with the casting decisions get it right (sorry, Jake Gyllenhaal, but the "Prince of Persia" role just wasn't a good fit), and sometimes they get it laughably wrong (in 2006, a lot of people were apoplectic over Heath Ledger as the Joker).

The point is that these things happen, they get talked about a lot, and then they fade.

For some reason, however, not all criticisms seem to be treated equally. At times, particularly when the issue involves roles crossing transgender or racial lines, there's a backlash to the backlash. It's almost as though everybody has emotions and opinions about certain things, but certain groups have those emotions and opinions policed more than others.

The simple truth is that sometimes a role just isn't a good fit for someone. Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of the Freddie Mercury biopic. Ed Skrein ducked out of the "Hellboy" reboot. Terry Crews dropped out of "Expendables 4." They all have very different reasons for doing so. It's fine.

While not a household name like Johansson, actor and comedian Ian Harvie, a trans man, certainly looks more like Gill than the "Avengers" star. Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

Nobody made Johansson drop out. She did it anyway — and that's a big credit to her.

As a transgender person, I honestly dread the handwringing we're about to see from people and how it'll be weaponized against my community.

Nobody forced Johansson to drop out of the movie. In the coming days and weeks, I feel like that's important to remember.

Much to the chagrin of trans people everywhere, Jared Leto won an Oscar for his heavily criticized portrayal of a trans woman in "Dallas Buyers Club." Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Johansson could have, as many actors have before, put out the film anyway. It probably would have made many people cringe, it probably would have been pretty ahistorical, and it probably wouldn't have done much to advance the cause of trans acceptance — but she could have done it. Maybe she'd have even won an award for it.

What she did instead shows that she listened to people expressing valid concerns and she was thoughtful in considering the issues they were raising. I hope that people give her credit for listening to feedback and responding like a person who wants to learn, grow, and be empathetic.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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