In a “Between the Scenes” segment on The Daily Show on Wednesday (which you can watch in full below), Trevor Noah weighed in on the latest controversy sparked by Scarlett Johansson. The actress was responding to criticism for playing a role that should have gone to a Japanese actor in 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, as well as the backlash that caused her to drop out on the lead role of a transgender man in Rub and Tug last year. Unfortunately, she further stepped in it while defending herself.
“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,” she said in an interview with As If magazine, adding that she feels art should be “free of restrictions.” “I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do,” she continued.
Although Johansson later clarified her remarks, the point she seemingly missed is that “trees” aren’t underrepresented in Hollywood, whereas minorities and the LGBTQ population are. Likewise, as Noah pointed out, for far too long Hollywood has been defined by “stories for and by white people,” and that roles for minorities have typically been derivative and stereotypical. He also brought up the popularity of Crazy Rich Asians as how much being represented onscreen is meaningful to people.