"Why would a woman want to work for him?"
The legend that is Emma Thompson has written to the producers of her latest film Luck explaining why she refuses to work with John Lasseter, who Skydance Media have hired despite allegations of sexual misconduct.
The letter was shared with the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, and makes plain Thompson’s extreme discomfort with Lasseter being tied to her new project.
Lasseter left Pixar last year following multiple allegations of inappropriate behaviour and misconduct, and his new employment raises ethical questions.
The veteran actress emphasises that Lasseter’s admitting to “inappropriate hugging” and “other missteps” was insufficient remorse to offer him such a prestigious second chance
According to her, he realised the error of his ways or because it was politic and beneficial for him to do so, not because he has grown as a person.
She asks should women not be the ones to decide whether they want to work with 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’?”
Thompson expresses her sadness that she has to quit the project, as she has huge admiration and respect for the film's director, but needs to stand up for the sake of her daughter's generation.
“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 writes.
“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.
She continues; “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."
“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 Nanny McPhee actress wrote.
“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.’” Lasseter has a reputation for turning Pixar into a boys club.
She also pointed out the unfair situation of Skydance Media workers who feel discomfort about working with him.
“How much money are the employees at Skydance being paid to GIVE him that second chance?” Thompson wrote, noting that he presumably profited from his Pixar settlement.
“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?”
“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?” Thompson wrote.
“Are we supposed to feel comforted that women who feel that their careers were derailed by working for Lasseter DIDN’T receive money?” she said, reminding us that his accusers never received any compensation if the claims were true.
Clearly, Thompson is deeply unhappy about having to quit a perfectly great film over the actions of a production company, a powerful man and his enablers.
However, she writes that she is unable to continue with the company: “I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising.”
We always had mad respect for Emma, but now she's a genuine women's rights goddess to us. Slay, queen.
Feature image: Instagram/@glamourmag