Scarlett Johansson can “clarify” all she wants that her remarks were taken out of context by The Daily Mail for clicks, but if you read the Q&A itself I’m afraid they aren’t. At all. In any way.

Are we seeing an acting trend today?
Hmm… We live in such a weird time that is sort of identity-less in a lot of ways. I don’t know if there’s a trend in performance, but there’s certainly trends in casting right now. Today there’s a lot of emphasis and conversation about what acting is and who we want to see represent ourselves on screen. The question now is, what is acting anyway?

Right. Who gets to play what roles…
You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.

Yes. Must you only represent yourself, your gender, your ethnicity, or can you, in fact, play beyond these categories?
There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art.

Does that bore you? Annoy you? Buck you up? Cheer you on? I know it’s complicated, there’s probably not one answer.
You know, I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions.

Note that it is Johansson that utilizes the term “political correctness”, which long has been a pejorative for values such as diversity and representation. Her interviewer, whatever he might think here (he goes on to talk about pendulum swings and maybe it’s swinging too far forward right now) isn’t the source of that phrase, and she deliberately uses it again in her “clarification” to EW.

No one seriously uses the phrase “political correctness” except when defending their own privilege. So whatever noises she makes to EW about recognizing her privilege should be read skeptically. Notice how she is intimating here that art imprinted by “political correctness” somehow is lesser art. That’s inherently privileging her position that she should be able to play whatever she wants.

(Not to mention, which I am, that her “any person, or any tree, or any animal” construction is within spitting distance of “all people, white, black, purple, or polka dot”.)

Moreover, in the excerpt above while she literally on the one hand disdains “political correctness” in art, she on the other hand says we are in a “time that is sort of identity-less” when in fact what that so-called “political correctness” is doing is recognizing identities other than straight, cis, white man.

We very much are not in a time that is “identity-less”; we are in a time where the centrality of the identity “white person” is being challenged. That’s a time of a plethora of identities, and the entire point is that she does not get to represent them.