Emma Thompson Blasts Studio for Hiring Disgraced Ex-Pixar Leader

(Bloomberg) -- Actress Emma Thompson detailed her reasons for leaving the cast of a Skydance Animation film in protest at its hiring of former Pixar executive John Lasseter, in a scathing letter that’s one of the most prominent outcries of Hollywood’s #MeToo era.

“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 wrote in the letter, published Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times with her permission.

Emma Thompson Blasts Studio for Hiring Disgraced Ex-Pixar Leader

Lasseter, a longtime senior executive at Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar animation studio, was dismissed last year following complaints of inappropriate touching. Skydance Media, led by David Ellison, the son of Oracle Corp. billionaire Larry Ellison, hired Lasseter last month to lead its animation division. The company said it had vetted him extensively and the executive had “taken ownership of his behavior.”

Two-time Academy Award winner Thompson, who had been cast in Skydance’s coming animated feature “Luck,” started talking about leaving the production as soon as Lasseter’s hiring was announced, according to the Times. She withdrew from the film Jan. 20 and sent the letter three days later, the paper said.

“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 wrote. “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?”

Skydance representatives declined to comment to the Times about the letter. Bloomberg News couldn’t immediately reach a representative for Lasseter.

Lasseter is one of hundreds of high-profile people publicly accused of sexual harassment or misconduct since late 2017.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.