Actress Emma Thompson sent a searing letter to Skydance when she quit its movie over John Lasseter's hiring: 'If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him'

  • Emma Thompson provided the Los Angeles Times the letter she sent Skydance Media management after she quit the animated movie, “Luck.”
  • The actress exited the project following the announcement that former Pixar head John Lasseter had been hired to run Skydance Animation.
  • Lasseter left Pixar following a report from The Hollywood Reporter that detailed employee allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

In January, Skydance Media announced it had hired John Lasseter to head up its animation division. The former Pixar head had departed the company he’d been at since the 1980s following a report by The Hollywood Reporter on employee allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him. And not everyone was pleased that Lasseter was getting a second chance.

At the end of January, Lasseter attended town halls at Skydance where he apologised for his past behaviour. Mireille Soria, who leads Paramount Pictures Animation (which has a distribution deal with Skydance), told her staff that no one should feel obligated to work with him.

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But the move that made the most headlines was when actress Emma Thompson quit an upcoming Skydance movie over Lasseter’s hiring. Thompson was to lend her voice to the animated movie, “Luck.”

Now Thompson is sharing more of her thinking behind the decision to quit.

On Tuesday, Thompson provided the Los Angeles Times with the letter she sent Skydance management after she left the movie. In it, she said: “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.”

Variety reported that anonymous Pixar staffers alleged Lasseter had “rubbed their legs and kissed them on the lips and was reprimanded for making out with a subordinate at an Oscar party in 2010.” In a memo at the time of his exit from Pixar, Lasseter said he was sorry for giving staffers “unwanted hugs.”

The CEO of Skydance – which is known best for making the last few “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek” movies – said in a staff memo about the hiring that Lasseter had “given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner.”

Thompson was not impressed by the assurance.

She wrote in the letter: “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’?”

Skydance declined to comment to Business Insider.

Read the full letter from Thompson at the Los Angeles Times.

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