Scarlett Johansson Reflects on Lessons She's Learned From Past Controversies

In a new interview, Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson recalled dealing with controversies during her career and talked about the challenges of being in the public eye.

By Corinne Heller Mar 24, 2021 10:01 PMTags
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Scarlett Johansson is no stranger to controversy. She wants people to know she's "also a person."

Amid her rise to fame in recent years as the breakout female superhero Black Widow in the Avengers films, the 36-year-old two-time Oscar nominee sparked backlash over two movie roles and favorable comments she made about controversial director Woody Allen.

"Yeah," Johansson told U.K. magazine The Gentlewoman in an interview published in its Spring/Summer 2021 issue, regarding her apparent attraction to controversy. "I've made a career out of it."

Johansson described, "I'm going to have opinions about things, because that's just who I am. I mean, everyone has a hard time admitting when they're wrong about stuff, and for all of that to come out publicly, it can be embarrassing. To have the experience of, Wow, I was really off mark there, or I wasn't looking at the big picture, or I was inconsiderate...I'm also a person."

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She added that she does not think that "actors have obligations to have a public role in society" and that "the idea that you're obligated to because you're in the public eye is unfair. You didn't choose to be a politician, you're an actor."

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"Of course, whatever you say, whether it's politically correct or not, any statement you make, or how you live your life, people are obviously going to take issue with it," she told the magazine. "We judge each other all the time. We judge ourselves constantly. I think people equate that connectivity to being self-aware. To me, it's different from being self-aware. And reacting to everything that's coming at them through this f--king thing—[holds up her iPhone]—your sense of reality is completely skewed. It's not normal to be that exposed. You can be exposed whenever you're in the public eye, but to then be on the receiving end, like a raw nerve, of all this stuff back? It's too much!"

In 2019, Johansson also spoke out about stirring controversy in her career.

She told Vanity Fair, "I'm not a politician, and I can't lie about the way I feel about things. I don't have that. It's just not a part of my personality. I don't want to have to edit myself, or temper what I think or say. I can't live that way. It's just not me."

"And also I think that when you have that kind of integrity, it's going to probably rub people, some people, the wrong way," she added. "And that's kind of par for the course, I guess."