We haven’t really spoken too much about all of news that’s been popping up around sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood because pretty much everyone is covering it, and you don’t need to get smacked in the face with it every single day on every single website that you visit. So, why do we need to talk about John Lasseter? Well, it turns out that the Pixar head’s departure is not only just a huge bummer, but that his actions have had real world consequences for at least one film we have been looking forward to.
According to reports on THR, it seems that there are multiple allegations against Lasseter for “grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes.” The incidents seem like they are mostly tied to social gatherings and parties, and that he usually had a little too much to drink first (not an excuse). Sadly, it is allegedly an incident like this that led to Rashida Jones and Will McCormack quitting their deal to write the script for Toy Story 4.
How is this all going to shake out? We have no idea. Pixar has a lot of moving parts, and Lasseter is known for having a hand in many of them. Will his absence really just be for six months or will Disney have to cut ties with him? It’ll be interesting to see, but it’s sad, regardless.
Here is Lasseter’s statement:
I have always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers. This kind of creative culture takes constant vigilance to maintain. It’s built on trust and respect, and it becomes fragile if any members of the team don’t feel valued. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen; and I now believe I have been falling short in this regard.
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.
In my conversations with Disney, we are united in our commitment to always treat any concerns you have with the seriousness they deserve, and to address them in an appropriate manner. We also share a desire to reinforce the vibrant, respectful culture that has been the foundation of our studios’ success since the beginning. And we agree the first step in that direction is for me to take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here. As hard as it is for me to step away from a job I am so passionate about and a team I hold in the highest regard, not just as artists but as people, I know it’s the best thing for all of us right now. My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity to start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.
I’m immensely proud of this team, and I know you will continue to wow the world in my absence. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and look forward to working together again in the new year.