Citing 'missteps,' Disney Animation chief taking leave from Pixar

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 21, 2017

Lasseter, the pioneering executive who built Pixar Animation Studios into an entertainment juggernaut and helped revive Disney's once-struggling animation business, said in the memo that the decision followed "difficult conversations".

According to a leaked memo obtained Tuesday by The Hollywood Reporter, Lasseter allegedly emailed employees today to announce he's taking a six-month leave of absence from his post as Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, after making "missteps" and having "painful" conversations.

Lasseter was one of the first employees at Pixar Animation Studios, and has come to define the past 25 years of feature animation more than any other individual.

Shortly after Lasseter's statement was leaked, the Hollywood Reporter published a story alleging he had engaged in a "pattern" for inappropriate physical contact with colleagues and staff. 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", Lasseter wrote. "No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected", he continues.

Pixar's latest film, "Coco", comes out on Thanksgiving day.

As some sources say, women at Pixar began turning their heads to avoid unwanted kisses and they even devised a move (nicknamed "The Lasseter") to prevent an unwanted hand landing on their leg. 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.

A second source told the outlet Lasseter's female employees developed defense mechanisms to ward off his advances, which reportedly stretch back more than 15 years.

Lasseter began his career as an animator with Disney - a job he was sacked from. "She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh", he says. After that encounter, this person asked the woman about what he had seen.

Lasseter in July stepped down as co-director of the upcoming "Toy Story 4", leaving Josh Cooley in charge of the film.

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