While followers on social media are accusing Dakota Fanning of “pulling a Scarlett Johansson” by agreeing to play someone who doesn’t share her racial background, Fanning is defending herself, and clarifying the role.

The 25-year-old has been cast as a Muslim women in Ethiopia for the film Sweetness in the Belly. The response on social media has been intense.

“so many talented Muslim actors out there and you cast… Dakota Fanning????????????????????” one user wrote. “and to play an ETHIOPIAN?????????????? I BEG YOUR PARDON???????????????”

“Outta all the Ethiopians in the world, y’all chose Dakota Fanning?,” wrote another.

Fanning saw the uproar, and released a statement: “Just to clarify. In the new film I’m a part of, Sweetness in the Belly, I do not play an Ethiopian woman. I play a British woman abandoned by her parents at seven years old in Africa and raised Muslim. My character, Lilly, journeys to Ethiopia and is caught up in the breakout of civil war. She is subsequently sent ‘home’ to England, a place she is from but has never known.

She continued: “This film was partly made in Ethiopia, is directed by an Ethiopian man and features many Ethiopian women. It was a great privilege to be a part of telling this story. The film is about what home means to people who find themselves displaced and the families and communities that they choose and that choose them.”

She added, “I hope you enjoy the film somewhere, somehow after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival!”

The movie was based on a 2005 book of the same name by Camilla Gibb, who wrote about a white Muslim nurse.