Volgens The Hollywood Reporter zal John Lasseter, hét gezicht van Walt Disney Animation Studios en mede-oprichter van Pixar, voorlopig niet meer verbonden aan de animatiestudio’s. Hij trekt zich tijdelijk terug na beschuldigingen van grensoverschrijdend gedrag. Werknemers betichten hem er onder meer van dat hij hen ongewenst omhelsde en op andere manieren grenzen overschreed. Lasseter erkent schuldig te zijn aan “misstappen” en neemt zes maanden verlof.
Een Disney woordvoerder (via Los Angeles Times) vertelde het volgde:
“We are committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are respected and empowered to do their best work. We appreciate John’s candor and sincere apology and fully support his sabbatical.”
Hieronder is Lasseter’s volledige memo aan de medewerkers te lezen:
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.
Zijn gedrag heeft achter de schermen al impact gehad. Schrijvers Rashida Jones en Will McCormack zijn opgestapt bij Toy Story 4 doordat Lasseter ongewenst misbruik maakte van zijn macht. Hij zou ongepast lange knuffels hebben gegeven. Ook werd het vierde deel uitgesteld en werd Josh Cooley aangesteld als de enige regisseur. Jones en McCormack hebben onderstaande statement vrijgegeven:
“The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences. There is so much talent at Pixar, and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.”
Op dit moment staat Toy Story 4 gepland voor de zomer van 2019. Het moet nog blijken of deze datum blijft staan.