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Trevor Noah Hits the Nail on the Head on Scarlett Johansson’s Bad Diversity Comments

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Scarlett Johansson made some upsetting comments about diverse casting in an interview that she has since fought back against, saying that the way they sounded wasn’t her intent and that her comments were taken out of context. Even when Johansson explained herself, it still wasn’t great, because it showed that she’s either deliberately ignoring a huge part of the conversation on diversity, or she just doesn’t care to see why it’s important that we have these conversations at all.

Stating that she shouldn’t be held back by “PC” culture in art (essentially) shows that she doesn’t understand what it feels like to not be represented onscreen. While many have commented on that, it was Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show, who pinpointed the problem with how Johansson was addressing the discussion at all. Noah pretty much hit the nail on the head while explaining what Johansson was misunderstanding about diversity on his show, stating,

I understand why you might want to get defensive as a person. I can even understand why some white people might feel like they’re under attack in and around these conversations. But I think what’s often lost is when Scarlett goes, “I should be allowed to play an animal or a tree or anything,” and it’s like, yes, but that’s exactly what people are saying: For so long, Hollywood and the people who define storytelling in America have defined it as stories to be told for and by white people. And so the roles that have generally been reserved for black people have been the stereotype of criminal, maid, slave. That’s pretty much it.

Later, he pointed out that that we are looking at representation in a strange light, taking for granted what it can mean for other human beings because we, as white performers and audience members, have never had the time to not see ourselves onscreen.

“We take for granted how much representation means to human beings, I think in two ways. One: in an inspirational front, and two: just how it shapes society.”

What I love about this is that Trevor Noah isn’t slamming ScarJo for her comments; he’s pointing out what she’s misunderstanding about the conversation. It’s something that needed to be said, and in a way that wasn’t just putting someone down.

You can watch Noah’s entire commentary here:

I’m someone who thinks we can all learn from our mistakes, grow as people, and realize why people are upset with something we’ve done. Hopefully, Johansson sees this video and can understand the harm that her statement could have done and how she needs to change as a performer and vehicle for change in Hollywood.

(via IndieWire, image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.