Emma Thompson Writes Letter About Why She Wouldn't Work With Lasseter on 'Luck'
"It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct," the Hollywood actress wrote the movie's producers.
In a major moment for the Time's Up movement, Emma Thompson on Tuesday explained why she decided to exit Luck as John Lasseter takes the helm at Skydance Animation.
"It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate," she wrote in a letter to the Luck producers.
Representatives for Thompson confirmed that the letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times was from the actress, whose decision to exit Luck was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Lasseter, the former creative chief of Pixar and Disney Animation, in January was named head of Skydance Animation by Skydance Media CEO David Ellison. That hire followed a year after Lasseter took a leave of absence from Disney in November 2017, following an admission that he committed unspecified "missteps" that left some employees feeling "disrespected or uncomfortable."
The Pixar co-founder never returned to the studio. Thompson in her letter acknowledged that the reasons for her departure were "complicated," but defended them. "If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him if the only reason he’s not touching them inappropriately now is that it says in his contract that he must behave 'professionally'?" she argued.
"If a man has made women at his companies feel undervalued and disrespected for decades, why should the women at his new company think that any respect he shows them is anything other than an act that he’s required to perform by his coach, his therapist and his employment agreement?" Thompson continued.
She allowed that Lasseter's defenders insisted he deserved a second chance. "But he is presumably being paid millions of dollars to receive that second chance. How much money are the employees at Skydance being paid to give him that second chance?" Thompson then questioned.
She also asked why Skydance employees shouldn't also have a say in whether Lesseter should receive a second chance, while also questioning how it was that Skydance could assert no women received settlements from Pixar or Disney as a result of being harassed by Lasseter.
"...Given all the abuse that’s been heaped on women who have come forward to make accusations against powerful men, do we really think that no settlements means that there was no harassment or no hostile work environment? Are we supposed to feel comforted that women who feel that their careers were derailed by working for Lasseter didn't receive money?" Thompson asked.
She added she regretted having to step away from a movie, but felt compelled to do so "during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising."
"I am well aware that centuries of entitlement to women’s bodies whether they like it or not is not going to change overnight. Or in a year. But I am also aware that if people who have spoken out — like me — do not take this sort of a stand then things are very unlikely to change at anything like the pace required to protect my daughter’s generation," Thompson wrote.