Emma Thompson wrote a searing letter to an animation studio as she quit a film in response to their hiring of John Lasseter, the Pixar cofounder accused of 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 in a letter to Skydance Animation that was published in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.
Last week, a representative for Thompson confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the star stepped down from the upcoming animation film Luck — directed by “the very wonderful Alessandro Carloni,” as the actor said in her letter — due to Lasseter’s new role.
According to the Times, Thompson, a two-time Oscar winner, began coming up with a way to remove herself from the film the moment the studio hired Lasseter in January.
And in the recently published letter, she asked the studio pointed questions about its decision to hire the animation filmmaker, who is known for cowriting and directing the first Toy Story film and breathing new life into the animation genre of movies at Disney before stepping down in 2017.
“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 her letter.
Lasseter was accused of "grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes" in a 2017 Hollywood Reporter story. He subsequently apologized “to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form.”
Though Skydance seems to fully support Lasseter, some of its employees have been vocal about their reservations about his hiring.
Last month, Variety reported the studio held a town hall session for employees to ask Lasseter questions directly. According to the outlet, the meeting had a “heavy” tone, and Lasseter said he was committed to proving he’d been reformed.
Representatives for Skydance declined to comment to BuzzFeed News.
Thompson said she hoped her letter would help the studio understand the level of discomfort she felt at Lasseter’s appointment. “I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising,” she wrote.
“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,” Thompson said. “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.”
Read Thompson's letter in full below: