Last month, news outlets began reporting on a number of female complainants who were accusing Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, of varying instances of sexual misconduct – harassment, assault and rape – over a period of several years. Following this scandal, Weinstein was removed from his own company and fell from grace in Hollywood…and more scandals and allegations involving other high-profile men in positions of power started coming out of the woodwork. One of the latest personalities to be subjected to this scrutiny is John Lasseter, chief creative officer of both Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.
To that end, as USA Today reports, John Lasseter has announced that he will be taking a leave of absence from his duties for a period of six months. This comes after allegations started coming up regarding what he terms as “missteps” in his behavior to employees in Pixar. The news came down from a letter he addressed to his staff on Tuesday, November 21, where he announced his temporary stepping down following “painful” discussions with the Disney higher-ups.
Lasseter’s memo stated: “It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them…It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent.” The memo came out shortly after it was made known that a report on sexual misconduct by Lasseter was being put together by The Hollywood Reporter, though he made no mention about that whatsoever in his letter explaining his half-year sabbatical.
“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,” The Pixar-Disney Animation boss continued in his memo, adding that his leave of absence was to give himself the opportunity to “start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired.” The letter ended with his hope that he would surely return after the six-month period was ended,
The Hollywood Reporter cites its sources on John Lasseter’s alleged missteps from insiders in Disney and Pixar who have begged to remain anonymous. These sources have pegged the director of Pixar hits such as the first two films in both the “Toy Story” and “Cars” animated movie series with deviant behaviors such as “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.”
Aside from Lasseter, other prominent names that have been caught in the wave of sexual misconduct allegations include talk show host Charlie Rose, who was booted from both CBS and PBS in the wake of eight women accusing him of harassment.
Photo courtesy of US Extra News