John Lasseter officially departs Pixar after misconduct claims
Pixar co-founder John Lasseter (director of Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars) will be parting ways with the animation company at the end of the year following a six-month leave of absence in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, Deadline has learned. Lasseter will stay on in a consulting role at Disney until the end of the year, and released a statement saying that his leave of absence gave him the opportunity to reflect on “my life, career and personal priorities” and that the end of the year will be “the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges.”
In response to the departure, Disney CEO Bob Iger credited Lasseter with reinventing the animation business and having a “remarkable tenure” for both Disney and Pixar, “taking breathtaking risks and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever.”
“We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios. One of John’s greatest achievements is assembling a team of great storytellers and innovators with the vision and talent to set the standard in animation for generations to come,” Iger wrote.
Lasseter took a six-month sabbatical in November following numerous reports of misconduct, including uncomfortably long hugs, unsolicited kisses and gropes. Adding to the bad press, actress Rashida Jones and partner Will McCormack quit their roles as screenwriters for the upcoming Toy Story 4 after experiencing what Jones later referred to as, “a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice” at the Lasseter-run Pixar. Despite these reports, Disney took the time to properly evaluate the case, even holding a “day of listening” in February to hear any concerns the animation teams had about the workplace moving forward.
Following these evaluations and hearings, the consensus was that Lasseter would not be welcome upon returning to the company, with some threatening to quit if he came back. Animation Heroine wrote in a Change.org petition that should he come back, it would be an insult the animation team that has had to put up with his actions, as well as a “demonstration that such behavior will be tolerated by Disney-Pixar.”
“Lasseter’s return would be a direct dismissal of those he has hurt, and his continued presence would contribute to an unsafe environment of mistrust,” the petition read.
As of press time Lasseter is still credited as an executive producer on this week’s Incredibles 2, along with Toy Story 4, Disney’s upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, an untitled Cars/Planes Spinoff and Pixar’s untitled Suburban Fantasy World movie from Dan Scanlon (Monsters University).
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