Emma Thompson wrote a letter about why she won’t work with John Lasseter

Emma Thompson explains in a scathing letter why she dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck.”

The British star, who did some recording for the project, left the project in mid-January in the wake of John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio. Her reps released a letter on Tuesday, first published in the Los Angeles Times, that Thompson sent to Skydance management last month. Skydance had no comment.

In the letter, Thompson admitted that her withdrawal would cause complications for director Alessandro Carloni, and the rest of the cast and the crew. But she also asserted that questions raised by the Lasseter hire made it impossible for her to continue working on “Luck.”

“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,” Thompson said in the letter, sent on Jan. 23.

“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,” she added. “But I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising.”

16 PHOTOS
Emma Thompson
See Gallery
Emma Thompson
BURBANK, CA - DECEMBER 09: Actress Emma Thompson attends the U.S. premiere of Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks', the untold backstory of how the classic film 'Mary Poppins' made it to the screen, at the Walt Disney Studios on December 9, 2013 in Burbank, California. The film opens this Holiday season. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Emma Thompson, winner of the Richard Harris Award poses at an after party for the Moet British Independent Film Awards 2014 at Old Billingsgate Market on December 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for The Moet British Independent Film Awards)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Keira Knightley (L) and Emma Thompson attend an after party celebrating The Moet British Independent Film Awards 2014 at Old Billingsgate Market on December 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for The Moet British Independent Film Awards)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Emma Thompson speaks onstage at the 3rd annual Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala benefiting J/P HRO presented by Giorgio Armani at Montage Beverly Hills on January 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Emma Thompson attends the launch of The Estee Lauder Companies' UK Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign 2014 'Hear Our Stories. Share Yours' at Kensington Palace on October 6, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Estee Lauder)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Actress Phyllida Law wears her Officer of the Order of the British Empire) award, with daughters Sophie Thompson and Emma Thompson (R) after the Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on November 11, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Actress Emma Thompson attends the 2014 The New York Philharmonic Spring Gala featuring 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' at Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Actress Emma Thompson signs copies of 'The Spectacular Tale Of Peter Rabbit'at Barnes & Noble Tribeca on October 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Emma Thompson attends a photocall for BAFTA's Screenwriter Lecture series at BFI Southbank on September 20, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Actors Emma Thompson (L) and Bryn Terfel perform at the 2014 The New York Philharmonic Spring Gala featuring 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' at Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Emma Thompson attends the UK premiere of 'Walking On Sunshine' at The Vue West End on June 11, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
British actress Emma Thompson (L) with daughter Gaia Wise (R) arriving on the red carpet for the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE (Photo credit should read ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Emma Thompson poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 at The Royal Opera House on February 16, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Actress Emma Thompson speaks as The New York Times and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences host a conversation with Emma Thompson, star of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures' 'Saving Mr. Banks' moderated by Janet Maslin on November 15, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Actress Emma Thompson attends the Closing Night Gala European Premiere of 'Saving Mr Banks' during the 57th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon Leicester Square on October 20, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for BFI)
LTORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 12: Actors Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan of 'Love Punch' poses at the Guess Portrait Studio during 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2013 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“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,” Thompson asked. “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?”

Lasseter’s hire was first revealed by Skydance on Jan. 9. The former Disney-Pixar kingpin left his animation studio in November 2017, following misconduct accusations, and spent a year away from the business entirely. Skydance CEO Ellison sent an internal memo to staff asserting that he had conducted an independent investigation into the Lasseter accusations and was confident of his innocence. Skydance also held several town hall meetings last month, where female staffer complained about the appointment.

Here’s Thompson’s entire letter:

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?

17 PHOTOS
Pixar cofounder John Lasseter
See Gallery
Pixar cofounder John Lasseter
Filmmaker John Lasseter of the U.S. poses at the opening of the Lumiere Grand Lyon film festival in Lyon, France, October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Pratta
Executive producer John Lasseter poses at the world premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Moana" as a part of AFI Fest in Hollywood, California, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Voice actress Amy Poehler (L), executive producer John Lasseter (C) and voice actress Melanie Laurent pose on the red carpet as they arrive for the screening of the animated film "Inside Out" (Vice Versa) out of competition at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney animation studios, poses at the world premiere of "Planes" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California August 5, 2013. The movie opens in the U.S. on August 9. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
John Lasseter, two-time Academy Award winning director and chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios speaks about his late friend Steve Jobs during ceremonies honoring Lasseter with a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08: John Lasseter attends the premiere of 'Coco' at El Capitan Theatre on November 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08: John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar Animation, Walt Disney Animation and DisneyToon Studios (L) and Edwin Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios arrive at the premiere of Disney Pixar's 'Coco' at the El Capitan Theatre on November 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
D23 EXPO 2017 - Friday, July 14, 2017 - The Ultimate Disney Fan Event - brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which takes place July 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. (Image Group LA / Disney via Getty Images) JOHN LASSETER (CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, PIXAR AND WALT DISNEY ANIMATIONS STUDIOS)
US animator, film director, screenwriter and producer John Lasseter addresses a press conference during the D23 Expo fan convention at the Convention Center in Anaheim, on July 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CHRIS DELMAS (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: John Lasseter arrives at the premiere of Disney And Pixar's 'Cars 3' at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
John Lasseter attending the EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, Kensington, London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 19: President at Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, (L) and CCO at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, John Lasseter, speak onstage during 'Inside the House of Disney' at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 19, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 08: Executive producer John Lasseter and actress Ellen DeGeneres attend the world premiere of Disney-Pixar's 'Finding Dory' at the El Capitan Theatre on June 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Director John Lasseter arrives at the premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' 'Zootopia' at the El Capitan Theatre on February 17, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 17: John Lasseter arrives at the Walt Disney Animation Studios' 'Zootopia' premiere held at the El Capitan Theatre on February 17, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Animator John Lasseter attends The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 42nd Student Academy Awards at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 17, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)
D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Photo by ABC/Image Group LA via Getty Images) JOHN LASSETER (Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios; Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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?

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.

Yours most sincerely,

Emma Thompson

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.