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'This is for my daughter's generation': Emma Thompson's powerful letter to John Lasseter after giving up a movie role.

Emma Thompson’s decision to quit a role in an animated movie is being called “one of the most significant decisions in post-#MeToo Hollywood“.

Thompson is politically outspoken and always honest. She’s a newly appointed dame commander of the British Empire. She’s a two-time Oscar winner.

So, her decision to depart her latest project – animated film Luck – in protest of Skydance Media’s decision to hire Pixar co-founder John Lasseter as its animation head despite sexual misconduct accusations holds much weight.

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Lasseter had worked at Pixar since the early 80s but left just months ago following admitted “missteps” in his behaviour towards female employees.

Skydance Media Chief Executive David Ellison sent staff an email after hiring Lasseter and said he was contractually obliged to behave professionally – but for Emma Thompson, this was not good enough.

According to Thompson’s team, she began conversations about withdrawing from the movie the moment Lasseter’s hiring was announced on January 9. Thompson officially pulled out of Luck on January 20.

Just three days later, Thompson sent a letter to Skydance management acknowledging the inconvenience her withdrawing from the project would cause but said it would be impossible for her to remain part of the project.

She has now released the letter to the Los Angeles Times, which you can read in full here.

Thompson wrote that without people to speak out, environments where sexual harassment and misconduct were commonplace would not change at the pace required to protect her 19-year-old daughter Gaia’s generation.

“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,” she said.

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She then lists number of question she has about Skydance’s decision including: “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’?” and “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?”

She said she regretted having to step away from the project because she was very much looking forward to working with director Alessandro Carloni, but she had to do what felt right.

“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 concluded.

“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.”

Thompson wanted to be in Luck. She wanted to work with director Alessandro Carloni. She probably wouldn’t have minded the paycheck she’d receive.

But for her, taking a stand against a Hollywood that sweeps sexual misconduct under the rug, that allows perpetrators to continue without anything other than an added ‘appropriate behaviour’ clause in their contract, was more important.

She’s walking the walk – and hopefully Hollywood is taking note.

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