Scarlett Johansson pulls out of trans drama after backlash

FILE - In this April 23, 2018 file photo, Scarlett Johansson arrives at the world premiere of "Avengers: Infinity War" in Los Angeles. Johansson has p

FILE - In this April 23, 2018 file photo, Scarlett Johansson arrives at the world premiere of "Avengers: Infinity War" in Los Angeles. Johansson has p

This 1979 photo shows transgender man Dante "Tex" Gill, flanked by masked Frank Cocchiara, left, and Donna Potts while leaving the Public Safety Build

This 1979 photo shows transgender man Dante "Tex" Gill, flanked by masked Frank Cocchiara, left, and Donna Potts while leaving the Public Safety Build

NEW YORK (AP) — Scarlett Johansson has pulled out of the film "Rub & Tug" after her plans to portray a transgender man prompted a backlash.

In a statement to Out.com on Friday, Johansson says she's withdrawing from the project "in light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting." Last week, Johansson said she would star as prostitution ring leader Dante "Tex" Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man.

When transgender actors and advocates questioned the casting, Johansson initially responded with a statement that criticism "can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman's reps." All are actors who won acclaim for playing transgender characters.

Johansson previously came under fire for playing an originally Asian character in the 2017 film "Ghost in the Shell."