John Lasseter, the founder of Pixar, is the latest powerful Hollywood executive to be taken down by reports of widespread sexual misconduct against female employees. A piece by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday contained multiple accusations of unwanted hugging, groping, and kissing by Lasseter. Among the allegations was that actress and writer Rashida Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack, stopped working on the screenplay for Toy Story 4 after Lasseter made “unwanted advances” towards Jones.
Well, Rashida would like to clear some things up. In a statement, Jones denied the THR report, insisting that she left due to “philosophical differences.” See, she didn’t leave because Lasseter sexually harassed her. She left because his company is sexist and racist and has an abysmal record when it comes to hiring women and people of color. In the statement, after decrying some of the breakneck reporting on sexual misconduct as irresponsible, she wrote:
We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. That said, we are happy to see people speaking out about behavior that made them uncomfortable. As for us, 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. But it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice, as is demonstrated by their director demographics: out of the 20 films in the company’s history, only one was co-directed by a woman and only one was directed by a person of color. We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.
What an exquisite scorching of Lasseter and the culture he fostered at Pixar.
Last night, Lasseter announced that he would be taking an extended leave, a six-month “sabbatical” after making what he called “missteps” that made his staff members feel “disrespected or uncomfortable,” which is a helluva way to not acknowledge the sexual harassment women say he subjected them to for two decades.