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Op-ed Defending Scarlett Johansson Transgender Casting Decision Is Yanked

Business Insider removed a published op-ed defending the casting of Scarlett Johansson as a transgender man in an upcoming film, the Daily Beast reported.

The Weekly Standard went on to publish the piece by conservative columnist Daniella Greenbaum, which had been taken off Business Insider’s website after staffers complained that it was offensive.

In “Scarlett Johansson is being unfairly criticized for doing her job after being cast as a transgender man,” Greenbaum criticized the backlash to the casting decision for the movie “Rub and Tug,” where she will play a real-life trans man whose Pittsburgh massage parlors were used as fronts for prostitutes.

“The job of an actor is to represent someone else,” Greenbaum wrote. “Johansson’s identity off the screen is irrelevant to the identities she plays on the screen. That’s what she’s paid for. And if she does her job, she’ll make everyone forget about the controversy in the first place.”

In an editor’s note posted Tuesday, Business Insider noted that upon further review, the column “did not meet our editorial standards.”

Removing the article moved the publication to alter its own internal editorial policies. In an email reviewed by the Daily Beast, global editor-in-chief Nich Carlson announced that Business Insider would create a list of employees who had “volunteered to talk about culture and identity issues.” Also, “culturally sensitive columns, analysis, and opinion pieces” will now be reviewed by the company’s executive editors before publication.

Through a Business Insider’s spokesperson, Greenbaum said she disagrees with the decision to take down Friday’s post and stands by her original piece.

Greenbaum, formerly of Commentary magazine and the Wall Street Journal, also attracted attention as a college student for her op-eds in the Columbia Daily Spectator.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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