Scarlett Johansson has quit transgender movie role following massive controversy

The actress has back flipped on her earlier dumpster fire of a statement.

Scarlett Johansson has quit film Rub & Tug after backlash erupted, mainly from the transgender community, for taking on the role of a transgender man.

The actress was set to play Pittsburgh mobster Dante "Tex" Gill, who was born Jean Gill and ran a string of massage parlors in the 1970s and '80s that became fronts for prostitution dens.

Following the announcement of her involvement in the movie, which has not begun filming, The Avengers star was heavily criticised by those who said the role should be portrayed by a transgender actor.

Despite an earlier, rather defiant statement, the 33-year-old has since decided to bow out.

"I've learned a lot from the community since making my first statement," Johansson told Out magazine.

"While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante's story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person."

She added: "I am thankful that this casting debate... has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film."

Her decision to opt out of the role has been celebrated as an example of someone with power "learning and growing".

Trans actress Trace Lysette, who stars in Transparent, called ScarJo's original casting "a mess" has since called for the films creators to cast a "trans man who can fit the aesthetic and deserves the opportunity to tell this story authentically."

No word yet on if Rupert Sanders, who directed Johansson in Ghost In The Shell—a film which also received backlash on the grounds of whitewashing an Asian character—is still going to direct the upcoming biopic.