'The View' hosts slam Scarlett Johansson: 'She needs to be more understanding of her words'

Hannah Yasharoff

The hosts of "The View" criticized Scarlett Johansson on Monday after the actress made controversial comments about which roles she should be allowed to play. 

Almost exactly a year ago, the actress dropped out of the film "Rub and Tug," after a heavy backlash that argued a cisgender woman should not play a transgender man. In 2017, Johansson also was criticized for "whitewashing" Japanese manga with her role in "Ghost in the Shell." 

"Acting goes through trends," Johansson said in a recent interview with As If. "You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job. There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art." 

"The View" host Whoopi Goldberg criticized the actress, offering a brief history of white people playing roles that should have gone to people of color, like Mickey Rooney playing an Asian man in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," or other white actors dressing in blackface.

Scarlett Johansson defends casting: 'I should be allowed to play any person, tree or animal'

"I understand why people were in it," Goldberg said. "But the reason we don't do it anymore is because we don't have to. Black people exist, Asian people exist, white people exist, transgender people exist. ... This is a new branch of acting. We didn't have transgender actors 25 years ago that we were aware of. We did not know."

Goldberg cited Jeffrey Tambor's Emmy Award-winning performance as a transgender woman in "Transparent" as a recent example of casting cisgender actors in roles that should have gone to transgender actors. But now, she noted, there are trans actresses such as Laverne Cox in "Orange Is the New Black" who has reached a level of acclaim and "sells tickets" herself. 

"They want to play the parts they can get," she added. "We all want to be great actors and we can all play whatever we want to play, because that's our job. But people who haven't had the opportunity really want to catch up. But they have to be good." 

Johansson later responded to the backlash, arguing the interview was "taken out of context" and promising to "continue to support" casting diversity. 

"I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness," Johansson said in a statement to USA TODAY on Sunday. "That is the point I was making, albeit didn't come  across that way. I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to. I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included."

"The View" co-host Meghan McCain argued that Johansson needed to be "more understanding" of what she was saying on the subject. 

"This isn't the first time she's gotten in trouble for it," McCain noted. "And I think a little self-reflection on the amount of opportunity she's had and how big of a star she is, and if she's taking roles away from an Asian actor or actress like she did with 'Ghost in the Shell,' I think that's where the anger comes from. It's not just once, it's two or three times now that she's saying it and I think that's why people are frustrated." 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Whoopi Goldberg, Meghan McCain slam Scarlett Johansson's comments