Her new anime movie has been slammed for 'whitewashing'

Scarlett Johansson has claimed that her role in the upcoming Anime live-action movie Ghost In The Shell was more about feminism than gender.

Despite producer Michael Costigan claiming that Ghost In The Shell was bringing anime to life, critics have slammed the film for whitewashing. Ever since Scarlett Johansson was announced to be starring cyborg policewoman Major Motoko Kusanagi, members of the Asian community weren’t happy.

“Ghost in the Shell, while just one film, is a pillar in Asian media,” California-based comic-book writer Jon Tsuei said. “It’s not simply a sci-fi thriller … This casting is not only the erasure of Asian faces but a removal of the story from its core themes.”

The original Ghost in the Shell anime film was directed by Mamoru Oshii and was based on Masamune Shirow’s classic manga series. The classic 1995 film was shown in 110 cinemas across the US between 7-8 February just before the live-adaptation release on 31 March.

Johansson had remained silent on the issue until now. Speaking with Marie Claire, the Avengers star touched upon the controversy surrounding the casting of Ghost In The Shell, claiming that feminism was a driving force for her.

“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive,” Johansson said. “Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that — the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”

Her response has failed to win over critics. The Huffington Post wrote, “Pivoting away from the issue of whitewashing by celebrating her own casting as a win for gender parity in the entertainment industry is a classic case of white feminism.”

“While it’s great to see someone with such a high profile shedding light on gender inequality, it’s a bit of a bummer that she failed to see how those issues are compounded by giving diverse roles to white actors.”

Twitter users weren’t happy with the Avengers actress’s claim on feminism either. Ria (@RCagz) wrote, “FEMINISM HAS TO BE INTERSECTIONAL OTHERWISE IT ISN’T ACTUALLY GOOD FEMINISM JFC”. TaraNTINO @lashiec) said, “I’m a white woman and I am goddamn tired of white women. She knows she fucked up staying quiet about it.”