Johansson previously spoke with As If magazine about the controversy surrounding her casting as a real-life transgender man, Dante “Tex” Gill. She caught more backlash for saying that, as an actress, she should be allowed to play any role she wants. She later clarified her comments.
“The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art,” Johansson's rep told Entertainment Weekly. “I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness.”
In a video posted to “The Daily Show” YouTube channel, Noah gives a monologue about his issue with the “Avengers” star’s comments.
"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 an 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."
He continued: “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."
The star used the representation of Muslims as an example, noting that it was acceptable for years to use Muslim people as a touchstone to depict villains and nefarious people.
“Imagery is powerful because a lot of the people who watch those movies don’t come into contact with diverse people, so their image of these people is defined by Hollywood,” he explained. “You'd think that a place that considers itself so liberal would try to find a place to represent people. There are middle Eastern stories that run the gamut.”
Noah concludes his monologue by making the point that no one is attacking Johansson over her roles, they’re simply frustrated that someone like her can pick and choose while minorities are often stuck playing the handful of stereotypical parts Hollywood allows.
You can watch Noah’s speech below.
[WARNING: This video contains some graphic language.]