News & Opinion | February 26, 2019 12:24 pm

Emma Thompson Refuses to Work With Disgraced Pixar Chief John Lasseter

The former Disney executive stepped down after multiple allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson refuses to work with John Lasseter. (Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP/ Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Politically outspoken actress Emma Thompson wrote a letter to Skydance Animation explaining that she cannot work with the company after it hired disgraced former Pixar chief, John Lasseter.

Lasseter left the Disney brand last year after multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior and the creation of a frat house-like work environment, The Los Angeles Times reported. But that apparently didn’t dissuade Skydance Media Chief Executive David Ellison from hiring Lasseter as its new head of Skydance Animation this year — a move that has convinced two-time Academy Award winner Thompson to take a huge step back from the filmmakers.

The newly anointed Dame officially pulled out of the Skydance project entitled Luck earlier this year, citing her concerns Lasseter’s hiring. According to her representatives, from the moment the hire was announced, Thompson began conversations about extricating herself from the project.

In a newly released letter to the Times that Thompson sent to Skydance, she listed her reservations and reasons for withdrawing.

“As you know, I have pulled out of the production of “Luck…” Thompson’s letter reads. “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 realize that the situation — involving as it does many human beings — is complicated. However these are the questions I would like to ask.”

Thompson’s questions included:

  • “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?”