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Emma Thompson takes Time’s Up stand over John Lasseter hiring

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Thompson suggested any change Lasseter displayed would be “an act”

Emma Thompson has revealed she quit an animated project because the company making it had hired John Lasseter.

Lasseter was recruited to head Skydance Animation following his departure from Pixar in the wake of claims he sexually harassed female colleagues.

In a letter, Thompson questioned the studio “hiring someone with Mr Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct”.

The actress had been due to voice a character in Luck, a comedy about how luck affects our daily lives.

BBC News has contacted Skydance to request a comment.

“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 a letter published by the Los Angeles Times.

Thompson then referenced past allegations made against Lasseter and questioned whether the respect he shows to his new female colleagues would be “anything other than an act he’s required to perform”.

“The message seems to be, ‘I’m learning to feel respect for women so please be patient while I work on it, It’s not easy’,” she added.

Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood which campaigns for gender equality and inclusion, said Thompson’s decision to leave Luck was “one of the most significant moments in the [#MeToo] movement.

She said her action was a “rallying cry” to others.

The organisers of the Time’s Up movement have also saluted her stance.

When Lasseter’s hiring was first announced in early January, Skydance’s CEO David Ellison sent an internal memo to staff.

It said he had conducted an independent investigation into the accusations and was “confident” that his mistakes had been recognised.

Thompson officially withdrew from Luck a few weeks later.

Towards the end of her letter, the British actress said she regretted exiting the project because the film’s director, Alessandro Carloni, was “incredibly creative”.

“But I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising,” she continued.

Thompson concluded that if people like herself did not “take this sort of stand, things are very unlikely to change.”

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Media captionEmma Thompson: “This man is at the top of a very particular iceberg”

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the actress has been vocal about the harassment she has faced in the industry.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight in 2017, she called disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein a “predator” and said allegations made against him were “the tip of the iceberg”.

Weinstein is currently facing criminal charges on five counts of sexual abuse, charges he denies.

The producer has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

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