Scarlett Johansson responds to Ghost in the Shell whitewashing controversy
“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person,” she said. “Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”
“Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity,” she continued. “Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that — the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”
The film came under fire when Paramount announced Johansson as The Major, a half-human, half-cyborg agent hunting down criminals for the elite task force Section 9. The character’s Japanese roots in the sci-fi source material sparked claims of whitewashing around the movie adaptation.
Further enflaming the backlash was a report claiming the producers ran tests that were later scrapped to make the actors appear Asian; the studio stated Johansson wasn’t involved in those tests.