Posted on March 14, 2019

Critics Slam Vogue’s ‘Global Talent’ Cover Starring Scarlett Johansson: ‘They Still Place the White Woman in the Center’

Erin Donnelly, Yahoo!, March 14, 2019

Vogue‘s April issue is celebrating “global talent” by featuring 14 female celebrities from around the globe — but has its diverse mission been undermined by its inclusion of Scarlett Johansson?

Critics are taking the magazine to task by putting Johansson front and center in her cover shoot, where she’s flanked by South Korean actress Doona Bae and Indian film star Deepika Padukone. White women also score the most prominent position in the issue’s second cover shoot, which shows Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki and France’s Léa Seydoux posing alongside Nigerian star Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Chinese model, actress and singer Angelababy.

The placement didn’t go unnoticed, with several commenters slamming the magazine for casting women of color as mere “sidekicks.”

“Interesting how they still place the white woman in the center though,” a commenter noted.


“The placement of actors in this image and the use of Greco-Roman imagery calls upon a past British colonial empire that disenfranchised and enslaved a large group of people,” added a commenter. “Be mindful of history. Do better.”


Johansson’s inclusion is particularly controversial, given past accusations of cultural appropriation against the star. She received backlash after playing the lead in 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, the film adaptation of the popular Japanese manga, rather than an Asian actress. Johansson’s casting recently inspired Sandra Oh’s joke about the whitewashing of Asian roles at the 2019 Golden Globes.