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Scarlett Johansson says diversity comments were 'taken out of context'

The actress, who canceled plans last year to portray a transgender man, asserts that she supports diversity in film.
Image: Scarlett Johansson at a fan event in London on April 10, 2019.
Scarlett Johansson at a fan event in London on April 10, 2019.Joel C Ryan / Invision / AP file

"Avengers" actress Scarlett Johansson says comments she made on "political correctness" in casting have been taken out of context and asserts that she supports diversity in film.

“An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” Johansson said in a statement over the weekend to several media outlets, referring to an article published in As If magazine. “The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art."

In the As If article, which was obtained by the United Kingdom's Daily Mail, she said actors "should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job."

"I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions," she told As If. "I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do."

Johansson came under fire in 2017 for playing an Asian character in "Ghost in the Shell" and canceled plans last year to portray a transgender man, Dante "Tex" Gill, in the upcoming film "Rub & Tug," after transgender actors and advocates questioned the casting.

"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," Johansson said in a statement at the time, according to Out magazine.

In the statement she released Saturday, the actress said "in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness."

"I recognize that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cisgender actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to," she added.


Associated Press contributed.