Emma Thompson Explains Why She Won’t Work With Former Pixar Chief John Lasseter In Must-Read Letter
Emma Thompson has spoken out!
The actress was to be in the production of Luck, Skydance Media‘s new work directed by Alessandro Carloni, but the former Love Actually star pulled herself out of the shoot — for a very specific, honorable reason.
As you’ll remember, John Lasseter (above, right) was pushed out at Pixar in 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct and running his department with a “frat-house” work environment bubbled to the surface.
Women at the time spoke out against his behavior — he eventually admitted to “inappropriate hugging” and “other missteps” — and he was removed from his relationship with Pixar.
But earlier this year, Lasseter suddenly once again returned to a high profile role in the industry, when Skydance Media chief David Ellison announced that he had hired the embattled former Pixar head.
The announcement was met with considerable protest at the time — and now, there’s more backlash.
This time, it’s Thompson’s letter sent to Skydance management, but only recently published for the L.A. Times, that explains exactly why she can’t work on a project even tangentially related to the 62-year-old, and why she’s walking away from Luck (below):
“As you know, I have pulled out of the production of “Luck” — to be directed by the very wonderful Alessandro Carloni. 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.
I realise that the situation — involving as it does many human beings — is complicated. However these are the questions I would like to ask:
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”?
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? The message seems to be, “I am learning to feel respect for women so please be patient while I work on it. It’s not easy.”
Much has been said about giving John Lasseter 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?
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. 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?
Skydance has revealed that no women received settlements from Pixar or Disney as a result of being harassed by John Lasseter. But 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 isn’t the first star to reportedly pull out of a Lasseter-adjacent production… but every time it happens, it sure feels important and empowering!
The actress’ letter continues (below):
“I hope these queries make the level of my discomfort understandable. I regret having to step away because I love Alessandro so much and think he is an incredibly creative director. But I can only do what feels right 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.”
Talk about Thompson taking a stand in her career where it matters the most! Bravo!!!
To read the full letter, click HERE.
[Image via WENN.]