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The actress had faced a large backlash after taking on the role of a transgender man.

When it was announced that Scarlett Johansson was taking on the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, born Jean Gill, in the upcoming biopic Rub and Tug, the announcement was subject to intense criticism.

The criticism revolved around a cisgendered actress taking on a trans role when transgender actors struggle to get any roles in mainstream media.

Johansson initially brushed off criticism, saying: “Tell them they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”

However, following a continued backlash she has now stood down from the role. In a statement revealed to Out magazine about dropping out, she said: “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.”

Johansson then apologised for her initial response, saying: “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 realize it was insensitive.

“I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”

Related: Trans men audition for Scarlett Johansson roles in this hilarious parody video

Johansson continued, making reference to GLAAD statistics: “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.”