The actress was signed up to play Dante Tex Gill in Rub And Tug, but attracted widespread criticism.
Multiple trans actors and their allies argued that it wasn’t fair for a cisgender woman to take the role of a transgender man, given that trans performers struggle to even get auditions for any roles whatsoever.
It was argued too that the performance would be much more authentic in the hands of a trans star, with many also drawing reference to the “whitewashing” criticism Johansson received for last year’s Ghost In The Shell.
After initially hitting back at detractors with a snappy statement earlier this month, Johansson has admitted she was “insensitive” and has agreed to step down.
“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” she told Out.com.
“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realise it was insensitive.”
She added: “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.
“According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release. 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.
“I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries.
“We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”
Annie Wallace, a Hollyoaks star who is herself trans, had spoken out against Johannson’s casting and has tonight praised her for her statement.
She tweeted: “This is an important moment for Hollywood. I absolutely applaud Scarlett Johansson’s statement.
“It is a brave and important move, and should be welcomed as such.
“The onus is now on the film-makers to think again, and hopefully they’ll find a trans star out there.”