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.
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.