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Why should John Lasseter be given a second chance, asks Emma Thompson


Press Trust of India Los Angeles
Actor Emma Thompson, who pulled out of the production of "Luck" over the hiring of John Lasseter by Skydance, has written a letter, explaining why she found it difficult to work with someone with a history of sexual misconduct.
Lasseter, a co-founder of Pixar and former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, had to quit from his post after a number of women came forward with allegations of sexual exploitation against him.
He was hired to head Skydance animation in January this year, prompting Thompson to quit the the film.
"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," the Oscar-winning actor wrote in her letter, sent to the Los Angeles Times.
The 59-year-old actor said while she understood that the "situation was complicated" because it involved too many people, she wanted to ask some questions to the bosses at Skydance.
"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'?

"If a man has made women at his companies feel undervalued and disrespected for decades, why should the women at his new company think that any respect he shows them is anything other than an act that he's required to perform by his coach, his therapist and his employment agreement?" she asked.
Thompson also blasted the company for claiming that Lasseter had no settlement cases against him in Pixar or Disney.
"Are we supposed to feel comforted that women who feel that their careers were derailed by working for Lasseter DIDN'T receive money? I hope these queries make the level of my discomfort understandable," she said.
"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. 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," she added.
In June last year, Lasseter had announced his resignation from Disney animation. Before that he had acknowledged in an internal memo that he had made staff feel "disrespected or uncomfortable" with unwanted hugs.
The 62-year-old executive, best known for transforming Pixar from a small graphics department at Lucasfilm into the world's most successful animation studio, was the pioneering director of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2."

Allegations against Lasseter were unearthed in an investigation by The Hollywood Reporter, which described a "pattern of alleged misconduct detailed by Disney/Pixar insiders.

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 8:15 PM IST

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