Emma Thompson Wrote A Powerful & Emotional Letter Explaining Why She Quit A Movie Because Of An Alleged Sexual Harasser

The Los Angeles Times published on Tuesday a letter written by Emma Thompson to Skydance Animation explaining her decision to quit the animated film Luck

Thompson left the film after Skydance Animation hired John Lasseter to head the company back in January. Lassester, who was the former Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, was previously accused of sexual misconduct. 

In the powerful letter, Thompson said Lassester’s hire made it almost impossible for her to continue working on the film. 

“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.

Lasseter was fired from Pixar in June of 2018, following a six-month leave of absence. Allegations of inappropriate conduct surfaced in November of 2017. The Hollywood Reporter reported that he was accused of inappropriately grabbing, kissing, and making comments about women’s bodies. Later, in a letter to fellow employees, Lasseter apologized “to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form.”

In the letter, Thompson questioned whether or not Skydance considered what hiring Lasseter would mean to its female staff. “Much has been said about giving John Lasseter a ‘second chance,’” she wrote. “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?”

According to The Los Angeles Times, Skydance Media Chief Executive David Ellison sent a memo to staff members, which explained that Lasseter was “contractually obligated to behave professionally.” In a meeting, Lasseter also reportedly apologized for his previous behavior and asked the staff to give him a second chance. 

Nevertheless, Thompson questioned in the letter Lasseter’s sincerity; she said that he hasn’t given women a reason to actually believe him.  

“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 asked.

She continued: “If a man has made women at his companies feel undervalued and disrespected for decades, why should the women at his new company think 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?”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mireille Soria, who is the president of Paramount Pictures Animation, reportedly allowed female employees to choose whether or not to work with Lasseter. 

“If John Lasseter started his own company, then every employee would have been given the opportunity to choose whether or not to give him a second chance,” she wrote. “But any Skydance employees who don’t want to give him a second chance have to stay and be uncomfortable or lose their jobs. Shouldn’t it be John Lasseter who has to lose HIS job if the employees don’t want to give him a second chance?”

Thompson chose to leave her job after Skydance decided to give him a chance, but she did so knowing the decision could have a positive change in the future. 

“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,” she wrote. “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.” 

Emma Thompson was incredibly brave and strong to have left the film, but it says a lot about how much change needs to happen in Hollywood still.