Times Scarlett Johansson Shut Down Sexist Interview Questions

Scarlett Johansson is fighting back, and not just in her role as Natasha Romanoff in Marvel Studios' upcoming movie "Black Widow" (via The Washington Post and The Hollywood Reporter). Just two months ago, Johansson spoke out against the sexist questions she has received over the span of her career and criticized the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for not adequately addressing the issue. Mark Ruffalo, who plays Hulk in the Marvel universe, in addition to the Time's Up movement, Amazon Studios, and Netflix, all have also spoken out against the HFPA (via The Indian Express and Metaflix). The HFPA is composed of roughly 90 international journalists who attend over 300 movie/TV screenings every year and write about upcoming releases, per the Golden Globes. The association also makes influential decisions such as determining Golden Globe award recipients, according to Metaflix.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Johansson said, "As an actor promoting a film, one is expected to participate in awards season by attending press conferences as well as awards shows," adding, "In the past, this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment. It is the exact reason why I, for many years, refused to participate in their conferences." Johansson added, "Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole."

Sexist questions Scarlett Johansson has been asked

Scarlett Johansson is no stranger to getting asked awkward questions. According to Entertainment Weekly, an interviewer asked Johansson about the diet she maintained to play her role as the Black Widow, right after asking Robert Downey Jr. about his character development as Iron Man in a 2012 "Avengers" press conference. Johansson turned to Downey and asked, "How come you get the really interesting existential question, and I get the like, 'rabbit food' question?" But this is only one instance of the sexist line of questioning Johansson has faced.

In a 2012 interview for Extra, a correspondent asked Johansson whether she wore undergarments underneath her costume. Johansson replied, "Since when did people start asking each other in interviews about their underwear?" A RT reporter asked Johansson how she feels to be adored by male fans, including the reporter's boyfriend, in another 2012 interview. Johansson responded that while she loves her male audience, "It's more flattering to me when I have girls that come up to me and say 'I love that movie.'" During a 2015 press conference for "Avengers: Age of Ultron", a reporter stated, "Obviously your character could have easily been written off as the sexy one." Johansson cleverly remarked, "Have you seen Chris Hemsworth?"

Flipping the script on the questions

It's not just Scarlett Johansson who thinks that the questions she gets are peculiar. A Cosmopolitan UK journalist said she noticed that Johansson tends to receive questions about her diet and costume, rather than her on-screen performance. The journalist decided to flip the script and asked Johansson's co-star Ruffalo the questions that she feels Johansson typically gets, while she asked Johansson questions that her male co-stars typically receive. The journalist asked Ruffalo what outfit he plans to wear to the red carpet, whether he had to go on a diet for his role, and any cleansing tips he had to remove the special effects makeup he wore.

On the other hand, she asked Johansson whether she does her own stunts and what she likes about playing her character. Through the interview, viewers learned that Johansson is a motocross champion who does most of her own stunts, which involve lots of choreographed hand-to-hand combat scenes. Regarding her role as Natasha Romanoff, Johansson said, "When you're talking to Natasha, you're really getting Natasha. She's very straightforward, and I like that part of her." It goes to show that Johansson may have a point. Asking questions that focus on a character's role, regardless of their gender, seems to unearth information we would've otherwise not known.