Trace Lysette gets death threats after criticising Scarlett Johansson for taking transgender role

Transgender actress Trace Lysette has received death threats after condemning Scarlett Johansson for playing a trans man in her new film.

The Avengers star sparked outrage this week by agreeing to take on the role of real-life trans man Dante “Tex” Gill in Rub & Tug, which will see her reunite with Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders.

Johansson played a canonically Asian character in that film, which was also accused of queerbaiting and straightwashing.

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 22: Scarlett Johansson and Rupert Sanders attend the official press conference for the Paris Premiere of the Paramount Pictures release "Ghost In The Shell" at Hotel Le Bristol on March 22, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images For Paramount Pictures)

Scarlett Johansson is working with Rupert Sanders again (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty)

Lysette, who stars in groundbreaking TV show Transparent, said in response to the move that “Hollywood is so f**ked,” calling the current situation over casting trans actors “a mess” and “so twisted.”

But just hours later, the actress – whose stand against co-star Jeffrey Tambor’s alleged sexual abuse of her led to Tambor’s exit from the show – reported that her tweets had been met with hate and abuse.

“Death threats for being trans and speaking my mind… nothing new,” she told her followers.

Johansson’s decision to play a trans man was also condemned by Jamie Clayton, the first trans actress to play a trans character that was written by a trans writer on Sense8.

Clayton directed her anger at both Johansson and Sanders, writing: “Actors who are trans never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS. THATS THE REAL ISSUE.

The actress, who also criticised cisgender actor Matt Bomer for playing a trans sex worker in Anything, added: “WE CANT EVEN GET IN THE ROOM.

“Cast actors WHO ARE TRANS as NON TRANS CHARACTERS. I DARE YOU #RupertSanders @NewRegency #ScarlettJohansson.”

After being widely panned for taking on the role of Gill – a massage parlour and sex work business owner in 1970s and 80s Pittsburgh who self-identified as a man and told people to call him Mr Gill – Johansson responded.

She said in a statement to Bustle: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11:  Scarlett Johansson attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Johansson’s response did not seem to help (Jemal Countess/Getty)

All three of these actors are cis people who have played trans characters – Tambor in TV show Transparent before he was fired over sexual misconduct allegations this year, Leto in 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club and Huffman in Transamerica, a 2005 comedy-drama.

None of the actors name-checked by Johansson have responded to PinkNews’ requests for comment.

Instead of dismissing the controversy, the statement appeared to pour fuel on the fire.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Trace Lysette attends Starz "Vida" Premiere at Regal LA Live Stadium 14 on May 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Trace Lysette has starred on Transparent since 2014 (Earl Gibson III/Getty)

In April, trans activists called for a boycott of Tim McNeil’s film Anything, which stars cis male actor Matt Bomer as a transgender sex worker.

This backlash came after repeated calls from stars like Laverne Cox for Hollywood to ensure that trans actors were hired for trans roles.

A group of stars from Shameless, The Fosters, Nashville and Transparent even released a video together last year to tell the industry that trans people were being “erased from our own history.”