Actress Halle Berry apologized and backed out of potentially playing a transgender character in a film after she received fierce backlash online for considering the role as a “cis-gender” woman.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, Berry told fans via Instagram Live that she was up for consideration to play a transgender man in an upcoming film until she received a flood of criticism scolding her for “taking” a role from someone who identifies as transgender. The magazine also noted that Berry “misgendered” the character while speaking of the role.
“I’m thinking of [playing] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” Berry said via Instagram Live. “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
“I want to experience that world, understand that world. I want to deep dive in that in the way I did ‘Bruised,’” she continued. “Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project, and that will require me cutting all of my hair off.”
The 53-year-old quickly caved to pressures, issuing an apology via Twitter that announced she was stepping down from consideration for the role.
“Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man and I’d like to apologise for those remarks,” the statement read. “As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.”
“I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake,” added Berry. “I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) July 7, 2020
Back in 2018, actress Scarlett Johansson similarly backed out of a transgender role following backlash over taking on the part despite being “cisgender.”
“After backlash from transgender activists over a ‘cisgender’ actor playing a transgender role, Johansson announced last week that she would pull out of playing Dante ‘Tex’ Gill, a female massage parlor owner during the ’70s and ’80s who ‘prefer[red] to be known as a man,’” The Daily Wire noted at the time.
“Johansson initially defended her decision to take on the role, arguing that playing a transgender character was no different than transgender actors playing cisgender roles. That prompted even more forceful backlash from activists, which ultimately convinced Johansson to reverse her decision,” the report added.
The “woke” trend is not limited to transgender roles, either. Last month, for example, actress Jenny Slate stepped down from her voiceover gig as a mixed-race animated cartoon character on Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” maintaining that “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
The animated character is half-Jewish and half-black. Slate is Jewish.
“At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I,” the actress said in a lengthy statement. “But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
Slate contended that “ending” her “portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.”
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