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“She’s a complete wh*re”: Scarlett Johansson Was Pissed With Robert Downey Jr. For Sexualizing Her Character That Led to Being Slut-Shamed By Co-Stars Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner

Over the course of her entire career in Hollywood, Scarlett Johansson has been veritably sexualized within the boundaries of films and beyond it. The receptive world has blatantly categorized the actress with terminologies like “Sexiest Woman Alive” or objectified her for having a “nice bottom”. But even after her visible discomfort and multiple protests, people did not show any signs of stopping, especially not when enabled by her male co-stars from the MCU.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson arrives at an Avengers: Endgame event in 2019

Scarlett Johansson Faces Hollywood’s Oversexualization

In the months leading up to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015, the cast of the MCU film had gone on an extensive press and promotional tour to rally the fans before the launch of the team-up movie. Often described as being tedious work, the interviews to this day find MCU actors joking and poking fun to keep the tours lighthearted and fun. But as tiresome as the schedule may be for the actors, they are always present — physically and mentally — throughout the tour, having been paired up with co-stars to build up excitement via interviews.

Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow was oversexualized in MCU
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been over-sexualized in MCU

But it stopped being fun when, in 2015, the actors Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans, who play Hawkeye and Captain America in the MCU respectively, nonchalantly joked about Black Widow’s inclination to seduce and charm and called her an “sl*t” and “a complete wh*re”. The comments, although made in jest and without any intent to hurt Scarlett Johansson was still harmful because it sets the precedent for interviewers, journalists, magazines, and tabloids to extend the discussion and wade into dangerous territories that violate Johansson’s privacy and disrespects her entirely as a person.

Outside the peripheries of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, one has witnessed actor Robert Downey Jr. coming to co-star Scarlett Johansson’s rescue when the latter was faced with insensitive and sexist comments during the Marvel press tours or on comic con panels. But, ironically, within the universe, it was RDJ’s Iron Man 2 (2010) that launched her character as well as established her as an objectifiable person when Tony Stak claimed “I want one” after seeing her for the first time.

Scarlett Johansson debuts in the MCU in Iron Man 2
Scarlett Johansson debuts as MCU’s Black Widow in Iron Man 2

Chris Evans & Jeremy Renner Apologize For Insensitive Remarks

It was not news for Scarlett Johansson, who plays the SHIELD agent, spy, and assassin, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow when the interview aired. In fact, it only added to the never-ending list of frustrating and humiliating objectification she had suffered at the hands of Hollywood, her co-stars, the paparazzi, and the global audience.

Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson in Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)

Also read: “It’s not very surprising”: Marvel Refuses To Pay Full Amount To Creators of Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova After Black Widow Release

But factions of the crowd spoke up and pointed out the grossly indecent and inhumane remarks of Evans and Renner, following which both actors immediately took accountability and issued formal statements apologizing to the MCU co-star. A day after the interview, Chris Evans stated —

“Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.”

Jeremy Renner too issued an apology along similar lines saying, “I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.”

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