Scarlett Johansson is one of the most popular and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood today. However, despite her immense success and talent, Scarlett has also faced significant backlash and criticism over the years for various controversial reasons. In this article, we’ll explore the main reasons why some people have grown to dislike or “hate” Scarlett Johansson.
Her Repeated Casting in Minority Roles
One of the biggest sources of controversy for Scarlett Johansson is her repeated casting in roles originally written for minority actors. Here are some key examples:
Ghost in the Shell
In 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett played the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi, who was Japanese in the original anime source material. Her casting sparked accusations of “whitewashing” and taking away a rare opportunity for an Asian actress to star in a major Hollywood blockbuster.
Rub & Tug
In 2018, Scarlett was cast as real-life massage parlor owner Dante “Tex” Gill, a trans man, in the film Rub & Tug. After backlash over cisgender Scarlett playing a trans character, she eventually dropped out of the role.
Scarlett has also voiced animated characters that were originally portrayed as minorities, such as Motoko Kusanagi again in the Ghost in the Shell anime adaptations, and Ash from the live-action Lion King remake, who was black in the original film.
While Scarlett has defended most of these casting choices, many see her repeated acceptance of these roles as problematic and an example of “Hollywood whitewashing.” The belief is that she actively takes opportunities away from marginalized communities.
Her Comments on Representation and Diversity
In several interviews over the years, Scarlett Johansson has made controversial statements about representation and diversity in Hollywood that have offended many. Some key examples:
Defending Rub & Tug Casting
When defending her casting as Tex Gill, Scarlett stated “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.” Many saw this as dismissive of appropriate trans representation.
Women in Hollywood
When asked about the lack of female director representation in Hollywood, Scarlett said she disagreed women were excluded, saying “There are many female directors…I have never felt helpless…or without opportunity.” This was seen as a privileged perspective ignoring major systemic inequality issues.
Casting Suggestion for Trans Actors
Scarlett rejected a casting suggestion that trans actors play trans characters, equating it to discrimination. She said “That is saying that someone, a trans person, cannot play a cis person. That is not appropriate.” Again, many saw this as ignoring the bigger problem of limited opportunities for trans actors in Hollywood.
While Scarlett sees these as reasonable perspectives, her comments come across as defensive and dismissive of the need for better representation, hence generating backlash.
Her Lawsuit Against Disney Over Black Widow Pay
In July 2021, Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over their release strategy for Black Widow, alleging the hybrid streaming/theater approach cost her millions in box office bonus payments. While Scarlett had a legal basis, many fans were unhappy with her for seemingly prioritizing money over public safety during COVID-19.
Key controversial aspects included:
- Timing during peak pandemic uncertainty and surging cases
- Potentially jeopardizing jobs of pandemic-impacted cinema workers
- Going against her Marvel “family” and Disney right as fans returned to theaters
- Evidence of greed from an already highly-paid star worth $165 million
This left a bad taste for many Marvel and Scarlett fans, tarnishing her public image as a team player. While she made some fair legal points, the perceived selfishness and poor timing of the lawsuit added to the reasons people started disliking Scarlett.
Her “Too Sexualized” Public Image
Throughout her career, Scarlett Johansson has been portrayed as a “sex symbol”, being named the “Sexiest Woman Alive” twice by Esquire magazine. While many actresses lean into this image, Scarlett has expressed dismay at being oversexualized, saying she wants to be recognized for her acting chops instead.
Yet she continues to take on highly sexualized roles in films like Lost in Translation and Vicky Christina Barcelona. She has also posed nude or barely clothed for magazines and photographed in intimate positions. This seeming hypocrisy angers some:
- She complains about sexualization but embodies it onscreen
- It makes her feminist stances seem insincere
- She profits from sexualization while condemning its effects
- It suggests she relies more on looks than talent
So while Scarlett understandably wants to move past just being seen as sexy, her actions undermine this goal, causing backlash.
Her Awkwardness and “RBF” in Interviews
Scarlett has often been criticized for coming across as awkward, aloof, distracted, or uninterested during interviews. Some examples include:
- Giving brief, monotone answers with little elaboration
- Frequently looking down or away rather than at the interviewer
- Lacking energy and enthusiasm
- Appearing like she doesn’t want to be there
This has led to accusations like Scarlett being rude, entitled, dull, unintelligent, or even diva-like. While shyness could play a role, her “resting bitch face” and low-energy persona in interviews rubs many people the wrong way. It makes her seem dismissive and ungrateful rather than gracious and engaged. For fans hoping to connect with their favorite stars, this can be very off-putting.
Her Political Activism Turns Some People Off
As an outspoken advocate for various social and political causes like Time’s Up, Scarlett has made her liberal views widely known. While many praise her activism, she also receives backlash for being very vocal on contentious issues, with critiques including:
- Inserting politics where people just want entertainment
- Being hypocritical or preachy (see sexualization complaints)
- Unfairly criticizing those with different views
- Not having nuanced takes beyond generic talking points
- Interjecting her opinions where unwanted as a celebrity
So while her intent is positive social change, her approach strikes the wrong chord with those not sharing her exact views. People don’t always want blunt political messaging from celebrities mixed with their entertainment. This has caused tune-out and animosity from segments of the population.
Key Reasons for Scarlett Johansson Backlash – Summary
In summary, the primary reasons people have come to dislike or “hate” Scarlett Johansson include:
- Her repeated casting in minority/marginalized roles
- Comments downplaying need for representation
- Her Black Widow lawsuit seeming selfish/greedy
- Oversexualization despite desiring to move past it
- Awkwardness in interviews making her unlikeable
- Blunt political activism alienating some audiences
While Scarlett remains one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, she is a polarizing figure. Her past decisions have created significant controversy and tarnished her reputation in the eyes of many. However, she still maintains a massive global fanbase attracted to her blockbuster films and undeniable acting talent. Yet the strong opinions on both sides demonstrate why Scarlett Johansson has become such a divisive celebrity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are some common questions and answers about the backlash against Scarlett Johansson:
Why was Scarlett’s role in Ghost in the Shell considered problematic?
Scarlett playing the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi was seen as “whitewashing” because that character was originally Japanese in the source material. Many felt an Asian actress should have been cast to provide better representation.
What eventually led Scarlett to drop out of Rub & Tug?
After widespread criticism over a cisgender actress playing the role of real-life trans man Dante “Tex” Gill, Scarlett eventually relented to pressure and dropped out so a trans actor could be cast instead.
What was the main issue people had with her comments on women directors?
When Scarlett said she never felt excluded as a woman in Hollywood, many felt that ignored the proven massive gender inequality in directing opportunities for women versus men.
Why did people call Scarlett’s perspective on trans casting unfair?
Scarlett rejected suggestions of only trans actors playing trans roles as discriminatory. But advocates argued more trans representation was needed in a predominantly cisgender industry.
How did Scarlett’s Black Widow lawsuit seem hypocritical or selfish to some?
Though legally justified, Scarlett suing Disney over streaming revenues seemed to prioritize her own payday over safety during COVID’s peak or support for cinema workers impacted by the pandemic.
In closing, Scarlett Johansson is undoubtedly a talented performer with legions of fans. However, several of her professional decisions and public stances have managed to alienate segments of the population and tarnish her overall reputation.
Her carelessness regarding representation, legal greediness, and at times perceived hypocrisy or ignorance on important social issues have rightfully provoked ongoing backlash and criticism.
While Scarlett remains successful, she serves as a lesson that celebrities must be cognizant of how both their on-screen and off-screen actions are perceived if they hope to avoid scandals and maintain widespread public admiration throughout their careers.