In the letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Thompson explained her reasons for quitting the project.
«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,» Thompson wrote.
She acknowledged the situation is «complicated,» before listing several questions that she hopes will «make the level of my discomfort understandable.»
«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’?» she inquired.
«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?»
Thompson also praised the film’s director Alessandro Carloni, and said she wished she didn’t have to leave the project.
«I regret having to step away because I love Alessandro so much and think he is an incredibly creative director,» she wrote. «But I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising.»
When Ellison hired Lasseter, he told staff that the decision was not taken lightly and that he’d had outside counsel «thoroughly investigate the allegations» against the animator, who directed Toy Story, Cars and A Bug’s Life.
«John has been forthright in taking ownership of his behaviour, apologised for his actions and has spent the past year on sabbatical analysing and improving his workplace behaviour,» Ellison said in a company memo.
Time’s Up, the organisation founded to combat sexual harassment and gender inequality in Hollywood and elsewhere, voiced its objections to the announcement last month.
«Skydance Media’s decision to hire John Lasseter as head of animation endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence,» Time’s Up said in statement.
«At a moment when we should be uplifting the many talented voices who are consistently underrepresented, Skydance Media is providing another position of power, prominence and privilege to a man who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.»
USA Today, with staff writers