Ruby Rose faces criticism for role in ‘Batwoman’

September 10, 2018 — by Shreya Katkere

On Aug. 7, model and actress Ruby Rose was cast as Katherine Kane, or Batwoman, the first openly gay superhero to headline a TV series, in CW’s upcoming DC Comics series “Batwoman.”

The casting of Kane for the role of the Jewish-lesbian lead generated some controversy because she does identify as a lesbian and she is not Jewish.

A typical Tweet was like this one from passionate critic @negative_purple:“[The directors] lied about wanting an actor that [stayed] true to who Batwoman is and instead just picked a ‘hot’ white person who isn’t too gay to offend the straights.” Many people believe that the decision to not cast a Jewish person for the role is anti-semitic.

The hashtag #KeepKateJewish has been trending recently on Twitter. Some in the LGBTQ+ community said that Jewish lesbian actresses such as Evan Rachel Wood, Zoe Kravitz or Olivia Thirlby should have received the role instead.

Rose retaliated to these accusations on Twitter, writing, “Where on Earth did ‘Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be Batwoman’ come from — [it] has to be the funniest, most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read.”

Though Rose has dated women before, she does not identify as a lesbian.

Shortly after this controversial Tweet, Rose deleted her Twitter account, not wanting to deal with hate comments under her post.

Rose isn’t the only one who has been called out for race and sexuality issues regarding roles they have received. One example is Scarlett Johansson, who was recently shamed for taking the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender character in the movie “Rug and Tug.”

The “Rug and Tug” incident was not the first time she has been in the middle of a casting controversy. In January 2015, Johansson was cast for the role of Motoku Kusangi in “Ghost in the Shell.” The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) and countless other Asian Americans were extremely angered by this episode of so-called white washing.

Johansson turned her shoulder to the disapproving comments, going forward with her role in “Ghost in the Shell.” But she eventually withdrew from her role in “Rug and Tug” and apologized to all the people that her casting offended.

“Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive,” Johansson said in an interview with USA Today.

Although Rose has not yet taken any steps toward backing out of her role as Batwoman, the issue of character-actor matching remains prominent. Nevertheless, it should be noted that it is part of a director’s job to attract more viewers for their film, and the best way to do this is often to hire a well-known actor or actress to play the lead.

Even though its up to the directors to choose whether to focus on procuring greater viewership by casting brand-name actors or to emphasize accurate representation for marginalized communities, the final decision whether to see the movie or not lies in the hands of the viewers.


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