Pixar co-founder John Lasseter takes leave of absence, citing 'missteps'

Carla Harmon
November 22, 2017

At the time of writing, Jones has not responded to her alleged incident with the Pixar co-founder, though it should be noted that she's still listed as Toy Story 4's screenwriter. A longtime Pixar employee, who remained nameless, said that Lasseter was known for "grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes" as well as getting very drunk at company parties.

"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", Lasseter stated. "It's never easy to face your missteps, but it's the only way to learn from them", he said.

He apologised for his "missteps" and "any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form".

The Oscar-winning filmmaker and senior executive admitted he had been "falling short" in ensuring a culture of "trust and respect" at his animation studios.

"It's been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable", Lasseter wrote, per THR. He took charge of Walt Disney Animation in 2006 and lead a revival that included such huge hits as Frozen and Inside Out.

The paper quoted a longtime insider who said he saw a woman sitting beside Lasseter in a meeting more than 15 years ago.

"She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh", he says. Some used a move they called "the Lasseter" to prevent their boss from putting his hands on their legs. "The best I can describe it is as a defensive posture". The Wall Street Journal had even cheekily detailed his proclivity for hugs in a 2011 story and photo spread subtitled "A sampling from among the 48 hugs administered by Pixar chief John Lasseter during the WSJ's daylong adventure with him".

Later, she told the source: "It was unfortunate for her to wear a skirt that day and if she didn't have her hand on her own right leg, his hand would have travelled".

In a statement Mr Lasseter apologised "to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug".

"You'd embrace him and he'd whisper in your ear, quite a while", a previous insider told the Reporter. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and look forward to working together again in the new year. "Just invading the space".

Lasseter is credited with a resurgence for Disney's Animation, which has seen recent hits like "Frozen" and "Moana".

Lasseter said his opportunity far from the organization is "to begin caring more for myself, to energize and be propelled, and at last come back with the knowledge and viewpoint I should be the pioneer you merit".

Pixar films have grossed over $6 billion at the domestic box office.

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