Australian newspaper under fire for Scarlett Johansson ‘tr**ny’ headline

An Australian newspaper is under fire for a headline employing a transphobic slur.

Sydney’s Murdoch-owned Sunday Telegraph had carried a report on actress Scarlett Johansson dropping out of a film where she was set to play a transgender man.

The headline for the piece read: “Scarlett dumps tr**ny role.”

The Sunday Telegraph headline

The newspaper came under fire on Twitter for the headline, due to the use of the slur – which is considered deeply offensive by many transgender people.

Prominent trans footballer Hannah Mouncey wrote: “Seriously @dailytelegraph??? Like, actually? Two sundays in a row you’ve printed vile, transphobic rubbish.

“Replace that word with another similarly racist or homophobic term and see if it makes it to print. This is never ok, it’s appalling, and the editor needs to be sacked.”

“The level at which trans people are so willingly publicly vilified by those with a privileged, high profile platform is unfathomable.

“48% of trans people have made suicide attempts, if this behaviour continues, count yourself partly responsible for these unnecessary deaths.”

Australian actor and LGBT activist Harry Cook wrote: “Seriously, @dailytelegraph ? Are you fucking serious with this shit? Garbage bin fire of a newspaper.

“I just made a formal complaint about this appalling fucking headline. You can too.”

Sally Rugg added: “There are words so poisonous with historical violence & persecution they’re no longer acceptable in public discourse.

“They’re traumatic for the people once labelled with those smears, and we are meant to be better than the past they come from. This is unacceptable @dailytelegraph”.

The newspaper did not immediately respond to a request for comment and is yet to issue an apology for the headline.

The same newspaper, owned by controversial media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has previously come under fire from activists for its “inaccurate” reporting of trans issues.

Johansson dropped out of the film Rub and Tug on Friday (July 13) after widespread anger at reports she would play a trans man on screen.

The Avengers star was initially defensive of the film, telling people upset by the decision to contact Jeffrey Tambor and Jared Leto – both of whom also controversially played trans people on screen – for comment.

In a statement to Out magazine, 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.

“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 realise it was insensitive.”

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

“According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.”

Johansson added her backing to the role being recast with a transgender actor, saying: “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.”