Earlier this year, Harry Potter star Emma Thompson quit Skydance Animation's upcoming animated feature Luck following the hiring of disgraced former Pixar head John Lasseter. Now, Thompson letter explaining her departure has surfaced.
Published in full by the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, Thompson's letter Skydance management makes it very clear that it's Lasseter's hire by Skydance despite the serious allegations of misconduct against him that was too much for her to stay on the project.
"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 in the letter sent on January 23rd.
"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'?"
In November 2017, it was announced that Lasseter would be taking a leave of absence from Pixar following sexual harassment allegations. He ended up exiting Pixar at the end of 2018. Then, in January of this year, Skydance CEO David Ellison announced Lasseter's hiring, a move that some viewed as controversial given the accusations that forced Lasseter to leave Pixar, including reports of unwanted hugging and touching.
"John is a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated," Ellison said in a statement at the time. "He was responsible for leading animation into the digital age, while telling incomparable stories that continue to inspire and entertain audiences around the globe."
Ellison also addressed the potential controversy Lasseter's hire may cause.
"John has acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes and, during the past year away from the workplace, has endeavored to address and reform them."
It's not enough for Thompson, who also detailed in her letter that there have been no settlements from Pixar or Disney for the women Lasseter allegedly harassed.
News of Thompson's departure from Luck came just a few days after Holly Edwards, a DreamWorks Animation alum, was promoted from head of production to Skydance Animation to president, putting her a position to work beside Lasseter. It's a move that a source told THR that "the bump up at Skydance is no doubt a reaction to the backlash on hiring Lasseter last month."0comments
Overall cast for Luck, which is being directed by Alessandro Carloni, hasn't been announced but is said to follow a battle between two luck organizations -- good and bad -- with Thompson having been set to be the head of the good luck organization. While Thompson's departure presents a hurdle or sorts for the project, the film isn't set for release until 2021, giving the studio time to deal with the departure. In addition to Luck, Skydance is also working on Split, a film about a magical teenager from Linda Woolverton and Vicky Jenson, but it remains to be seen if Lasseter's hiring will have any impact on that film.
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