Pixar Founder John Lasseter Taking Leave of Absence for ‘Missteps’ Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
The man behind Disney Animation is the latest to be ousted for alleged sexual impropriety.
John Lasseter, a two-time Oscar winner who runs the studio’s animation division, has announced he will take a leave of absence from Pixar, which he co-founded, in the wake of a Hollywood Reporter story which chronicles his history of sexual harassment.
One Pixar official told THR that Lasseter, 60, had a reputation for “grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes.”
Lasseter, who directed the first two Toy Story films, announced his decision to step away shortly before The Hollywood Reporter published its story. He wrote a letter to his staff explaining his decision, which read:
I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be. It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.
Recently, there was speculation that actress-writer Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack had both left their jobs writing Toy Story 4 because of Lasseter’s inappropriate behavior, but they told The New York Times that was not the case.
“We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances,” they said. “That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.”
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