LucasFilm Harassment Lawsuit

If I told you about an organization that leverages governments into giving them taxpayer money, discriminates against women, and then engages in collusion, you’d probably think I’m talking about the mafia right?

Unfortunately I’m talking about one of the most prestigious companies in the VFX industry: LucasFilm.

Seriously, what the hell is going on there? Within the last year I posted how they lost a lawsuit to a woman who was illegally discriminated against because she was pregnant. Of course you all know the big news about the collusion against VFX workers between ILM and Pixar. Now a LucasFilm consultant is being sued for sexism:

In a deposition in the previous case, Bies — who, incidentally, was one of the original operators of R2-D2, acknowledged he’d told Lucasfilm vice president Howard Roffman that Totah had a reputation for promiscuity.

and it get’s even more bizarre:

As with the previous lawsuit, the claim suggests the company behind the Star Wars universe operates under an ironic double standard. Roffman enjoys a sideline producing soft-core pornographic photo books featuring naked boys in sexualized poses, yet purportedly authorized the firing of an underling following allegations she wasn’t sufficiently prim.

This is the same company that wants to make family films like Rango?

Soldier On.

10 Responses to LucasFilm Harassment Lawsuit

  1. Tom says:

    I have a huge problem with bay-area companies. For one, they pay much less (on average 40% less) than what I get paid at middle-sized companies.

    I was offered less than $20/hour to work night shift at ILM. Really guys, get your sh** together. Base pay for the bottom job (Render I/O) should be at minimum $25-$30/hour. These people are the lifeline for your production without them you can’t make your films. Period.

    Ranting aside, I certainly did not take the ILM offer. I was fooled only once up north. Now I am the wiser. Demand decent pay for what you do. If you do more than your boss you probably should be paid at least as much as him/her.

    On the flip side, I understand the reasoning for the companies to be pinching pennies. But don’t cry if you have a crappy plot and you don’t listen to your employees who tell you when things are not working. I have seen so many films clearly doomed, and the employees tell the directors, and they still march on into the the deep pile of crap.

    … and the ants go marching in…

  2. LAS says:

    what about the Singapore division, while there is no room for sexism or collusion there because the salaries are for the most part as low as a human being could survive on. it would be pretty interesting to mention here that some of the ILM effects you see in the movies were produced with people getting around 10 us$ an hour!!

    of course anyone who doesn’t like the condition there could leave and be replaced by an infinite army of trainees that I wouldn’t be surprised if Singapore government is paying for them to train beside their huge sweat shop offices subsidy.

  3. john says:

    And here lies the issue. Do you think the US wages are too high.

    Some of these per hour rates quoted are much, much, higher than competing cities, but are enough to live on quite comfortably.

    Have you priced yourself out of the market?

    • VFX Soldier says:

      The reason why so much work goes to Canada, NZ, and UK is because of government subsidies for films. I actually could get more money working in another country. Subsidies artificially makes vfx work cheaper for the studios.

      • john says:

        How does that argument work with the rates quoted above. These rates are nothing close to what people earn and are much higher(the US has always been)

        By your logic the wages should be higher because of the subsidies. They aren’t, you might be thinking they are, but they aren’t.

  4. vfxguy says:

    What does a person who worked on the Lucas estate and a person who worked in the toy marketing division have to do with vfx production?

  5. Paul says:

    By and large, I agree with your take on many of the issues you raise elsewhere on your blog. ILM and Pixar should rightly be taken to task for colluding to restrain wages. However, lumping the non-hire on the basis of pregnancy with the collusion stuff is a bit of a stretch.

    The woman in the lawsuit (I’ll call here Shirley 😉 was a candidate for a position lasting substantially longer than a few months. The first few months would involve learning on the job as to specific protocols of the day to day work. It’s reasonable to suggest that this learning period could last as long as two or three months.

    Shirley’s pregnancy should would need go out on maternity leave within four to six months. At that time, Lucasfilm would need to hire and train a replacement for the duration of Shirley’s maternity leave. Assuming Shirley returns to work within one year of starting the job, Lucasfilm has had hire and train two people for one position.

    I’m not suggesting maternity leave is a vacation. However, to an extent pregancies and vacations contain an element of choice. Imagine the reaction upon starting a new job were you to informed them you had a prior three month vacation planned four months from your start date. Surely, this scenario could be considered a criteria to choose one candidate over another.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I worked at ILM and I was blatantly discriminated against because I’m female. I was told by my boss that I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t have enough “testosterone.” I was told by their HR department that if I proceeded with an investigation, that there would be retaliation. I also saw other women there get marginalized and pushed aside regardless of skill set.

  7. […] dismissed the discourse on gender. I’ve written about the issue amongst others as far back as four years ago. I also helped uncover pregnancy discrimination at LucasFilm, a company run by Kathleen Kennedy, a […]

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