How soon is too soon, to start giving chances to men accused of sexual misconduct? Emma Thompson’s open letter, in wake of quitting a film produced by an animation studio, which hired John Lasseter, raises so many relevant questions. While everyone does deserve a second chance, the readiness and ease with which sexual predators are creeping back after being outed, tells us so much about our willingness to forgive men. Easy forgiveness it seems, is yet another entitlement men enjoy due to their gender.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How soon is too soon, to start giving chances to men accused of sexual misconduct?
  • Easy forgiveness it seems, is yet another entitlement men enjoy due to their gender.
  • How does this deter sexual predators, who misuse power and position to abuse women?
  • We must also stand up against male entitlement being given to predators in the name of “second chances.”

“I am well aware that centuries of entitlement to women’s bodies, whether they like it or not is not going to change overnight.” – Emma Thompson

Dame Thompson quit working on an animated film called Luck last month, while it was still in production. Now she has written an open letter on resigning from the project, calling out the hiring of disgraced former head of Pixar, John Lasseter, by the film’s backers, Skydance Media, as reported by The Guardian. “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,” she wrote. “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 further questioned the implications of giving Lasseter a “second chance” saying, “Much has been said about giving John Lasseter a ‘second chance.’ But he is presumably being paid millions of dollars to receive that second chance. How much money are the employees at Skydance being paid to GIVE him that second chance?” Thompson is right, giving Lasseter a second chance is going to come at a cost. And it will be the woman working in his vicinity who’ll be paying most of it.

We are giving these men the very power and platforms back which they misused.

Imagine having to work day in day out in the vicinity of a sexual predator, who has admitted to inappropriately touching women. How stressful it will be for them. Would they be able to let their guard down and work? The problem is that Lasseter and many others like him have been readily accepted back into the folds of power. They suffer negligible consequences and despite severe public backlash they manage to start back their professional lives, right where they left them. It is as if nothing happened. So while #MeToo survivors are battling legal and professional consequences for the mere act of speaking out, Lasseter is back mingling in the power circles of Hollywood and Louis CK is back on stage with a mic in his hands. We are giving these men the very power and platforms back which they misused.

How does this deter sexual predators, from preying on vulnerable women? How does this tell men to not feel entitled to women’s bodies just because of their gender and position? Unless there are severe professional and legal consequences, how will Times Up and #MeToo movement hold their ground? The truth is this battlefield was set against survivors from day one. All the suspensions and apologies we’ve heard till now have been more about damage control and to quarantine our outrage.

But Emma Thompson has shown us a way forward. Outing sexual predators is just the start. We must also stand up against male entitlement being given to predators in the name of “second chances.” It shouldn’t be this easy.

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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