Emma Thompson Departs Skydance Animated Film After Hiring of John Lasseter
According to an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter, Emma Thompson has stepped down from voicing a role in the upcoming Skydance animation Luck. Several sources told the publication that Thompson had already begun recording her role but decided to quietly step down ‘because of concerns about working with [John] Lasseter.’ This news came only a few days after Skydance announced the promotion of Holly Edwards, formerly of Dreamworks, to the position of President at the company, becoming ‘Lasseter’s right hand.’
Last month, Skydance announced their hiring of John Lasseter to head their animation wing, a story that disappointed many, given Lasseter’s exit from Disney-Pixar over inappropriate behaviour towards female employees. Lasseter had also been accused of helping to foster a climate of sexism, intimidation and harassment, with women being shut out of meetings because Lasseter apparently couldn’t control himself around women. Any who questioned this hostile environment were branded ‘difficult’, demoted or even let go from the company, and the root of that toxicity goes all the way to up Lasseter’s management.
Remember, Disney never technically fired Lasseter after these allegations came out. He was simply out on a sabbatical until his contract expired. Lasseter apologized for what he called his ‘missteps’, but it hardly seems like true justice or a desire to change when he is immediately elevated back to the top of the pile. How can you expect women in an already hostile business that frequently maligns them to feel safe under the leadership of one of the people most responsible for making their workplace so impossible to thrive in? Women left the animation business because of the way Lasseter poisoned the well for them. And now, Skydance want him back as the cuddly uncle of cartoons.
This has proven especially aggravating because Skydance have interesting projects in the pipeline helmed by women, such as Split, which is set to be written by Linda Woolverton and directed by Vicky Jenson. Imagine the impossible situation this puts them in. It’s hard enough to get women directors in charge of any movie, much less a big-budget mainstream animated film, and now they have to navigate this mine-field.
Header Image Source: YouTube // Disney
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