‘Ghost In The Shell’ Receives Backlash Over Scarlett Johansson Playing Japanese Character

Truth rating: 10
Ghost In Shell Backlash Whitewashing

By Andrew Shuster

Ghost In Shell Backlash Whitewashing

(Paramount Pictures/Dreamworks)

Scarlett Johansson stars in the upcoming American remake of the Japanese anime, Ghost in the Shell, in which she plays a character named Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg policewoman who’s Asian in the original film and the manga comic on which it’s based. The first photo of Johansson in character has just been released online, and it’s received a ton of backlash from fans on social media who are accusing the actress’s casting as an example of Hollywood whitewashing.

“I REALLY like Scarlett Johansson… But it bothers me Hollywood STILL overlooks a lot of Asian actors,” a person named @Meghan_IGN tweeted upon seeing the still from the film. A user with the handle ‏@NeilaK20 plans to boycott the movie, expressing, “I’m prob not gonna see the Ghost in the Shell movie even tho I like ScarJo. I’m tired of Hollywood casting white people for Asian characters.”

Meanwhile, Twitter user @jfwong, who’s a hardcore fan of the original property, wrote, “Ghost in the Shell was one of the most important movies to my brother and me growing up.It really does hurt to see it get this treatment.” A person named @jyrenb similarly said, “Seriously, Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese story about Japanese characters. Making the characters white invalidates the point of making it.”

A user with the handle @XavierDLeau offered, “If there’s any Japanese protestors out there protesting against Ghost in the Shell, know I stand with you.” And a person named @SamuraiErika tweeted, “I like ScarJo. I’m still disappointed to see Ghost in the Shell whitewashed. More casting like this is coming, and now’s the time to object.”

Johansson and the filmmakers have yet to respond to the film’s backlash and whitewashing controversy. Production on Ghost in the Shell is currently underway in New Zealand, with the movie scheduled to hit theaters on March 31, 2017.

Enter your email address here to receive daily news updates from us.


  1. Gossip Cop
  2. Mediaite
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. The Mary Sue