Emma Thompson said she left her voice-over role in Skydance Animation’s upcoming film Luck earlier this month because she didn’t want to work for John Lasseter. The Oscar-winning actor-producer has elaborated on her thoughts with a pointed letter that was published today in the Los Angeles Times, aimed directly at David Ellison’s company and its decision to hire the ex-Pixar chief who was forced out of Disney last year because of past sexual misconduct.
“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 wrote.
She framed several questions in the letter about Skydance’s decision-making surrounding Lasseter, whose hire the company defended earlier this month after it was met with criticism in Hollywood.
“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’?,” asked Thompson, who said in the letter she realized the issue “is complicated.”
But the questions aimed and Skydance were no less pointed. Among them:
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?
“I hope these queries make the level of my discomfort understandable,” she wrote. “I regret having to step away because I love Alessandro [Luck director Alessandro Carloni] 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.”
Luck centers on the struggle between the organizations of bad luck and good luck, and Thompson had begun recording her role as the head of the latter group, though her casting hadn’t been officially announced.
Earlier this week, Skydance promoted Skydance Animation Head of Production Holly Edwards to the position of President of Skydance Animation, to serve as Lasseter’s right-hand, leading all business aspects of production activities across all titles.