It’s been a year of ups and downs for Scarlett Johansson. The actress is ending 2019 with a handful of huge blockbusters under her belt, including Avengers: Endgame, JoJo Rabbit and the critically acclaimed Marriage Story, plenty of Oscar buzz and her fair share of controversies.
ICYMI, ScarJo made headlines earlier in the year when she said she “should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal,” following backlash over her playing an asian character in 2017’s Ghost in the Shell and being cast as a transgender man in the upcoming Rub & Tug, a biopic she eventually withdrew from.
As if that wasn’t enough to ruffle feathers, Johansson continued to put her foot in it when she defended Woody Allen – who allegedly sexually abused his own daughter – during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I love Woody. I believe him, and I would work with him anytime,” she said, igniting a social media shitstorm in the days following.
Fast-forward to this week and ScarJo still isn’t doing herself any favours. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the 35-year-old actress was asked about her comments on Allen and said “I’m not a politician, and I can’t lie about the way I feel about things.”
Johansson said she understands that by making the decision not to “edit myself, or temper what I think or say,” she’s inviting controversy and different opinions, but she still stands by her comments on the director.
“It’s my experience. I don’t know any more than any other person knows. I only have a close proximity with Woody… he’s a friend of mine. But I have no other insight other than my relationship with him,” she said.
Vanity Fair journo Chris Heath explained to ScarJo that “as much as there is an argument for the validity of her voicing her own experience one of the things that makes some people uncomfortable with an opinion like that being expressed is that she is also effectively saying, in 2019, to a woman who has spoken out: ‘I don’t believe you.’”
Johansson told Heath “I do understand how that is triggering for some people. But just because I believe my friend does not mean that I don’t support women, believe women.”
It sounds like the interview got understandably tense and Johansson even said, “I think if I wanted to continue this conversation, it can be done personally with the people involved and not through statements to Vanity Fair.”
One good thing to come out of ScarJo’s interview with Vanity Fair was an understanding that she’d been insensitive about playing a trans person in Rub & Tug. “In hindsight, I mishandled that situation. I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing—and how they felt in general about cis actors playing—transgender people,” she said.
“I wasn’t aware of that conversation—I was uneducated. So I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that…. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”
At least there’s one lesson learned from ScarJo’s year of foot-in-mouth interviews. Here’s hoping she only becomes more aware of how her comments come across, particularly in relation to Woody Allen.