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Artist RightsPixar

BREAKING: John Lasseter Takes Leave Of Absence From Pixar Following Allegations Of ‘Grabbing, Kissing’ And ‘The Lasseter’ Move

John Lasseter, 60, has taken a leave of absence from Pixar due to unspecified “missteps” that made some of Pixar’s employees “feel disrespected or uncomfortable.”

The full statement, published on The Hollywood Reporter, can be read below the analysis.

ANALYSIS:
John Lasseter says that he’s taking a leave of absence from Pixar due to people who felt “disrespected or uncomfortable” by his actions. The most detailed description of those actions he offers in his apology is this: “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’s hastily announced sabbatical was made just minutes before The Hollywood Reporter’s Kim Masters published a second piece detailing specific allegations of sexual misconduct against Lasseter, including “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes,” and details about a move that woman would use to avoid him called “the Lasseter.”

Further, inside sources claim that Rashida Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack, left as writers of Toy Story 4 after Lasseter made an unwanted advance toward her. Disney claims they left over “creative differences.” [UPDATE: Jones later sent a statement to the New York Times denying that she left because of sexual advances from Lasseter. In a joint statement with McCormack, they said they left over creative and philosophical differences stemming from “a culture [at Pixar] where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.”]

More details from the Reporter:

Sources say some women at Pixar knew to turn their heads quickly when encountering him to avoid his kisses. Some used a move they called “the Lasseter” to prevent their boss from putting his hands on their legs. A longtime insider says he saw a woman seated next to Lasseter in a meeting that occurred more than 15 years ago.

“She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh,” he says. “The best I can describe it is as a defensive posture …  John had his hand on her knee, though, moving around.” After that encounter, this person asked the woman about what he had seen. “She said 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.”

The same source said he once noticed an oddly cropped photo of Lasseter standing between two women at a company function. When he mentioned that to a colleague, he was told, “We had to crop it. Do you know where his hands were?”

Another former insider remembers awkward encounters with Lasseter, who liked — as many in the industry do — to hug in meetings. “You’d hug him and he’s whisper in your ear, a long time,” this person says. “He hugged and hugged and everyone’s looking at you. Just invading the space.”

A second piece published in Variety today detailed more allegations against Lasseter, revealing that the Pixar chief’s behavior towards young women has been an on-going problem at the studio for decades, and that women who start working there are warned through a “whisper network” that Lasseter may prey on them.

Some anecdotes from the piece:

Some told Variety that he would make inappropriate comments about women, or touch them on their legs or backs. Some described receiving hugs that went on a few seconds too long.

and…

Another former employee said that after Pixar grew out of its Point Richmond office and moved to Emeryville in 2000, Lasseter’s behavior became more brazen. She said he would walk up to women in the office and kiss them on the lips. “I found it shocking,” she said. “That’s not a normal way of greeting a colleague.”

and also…

She said her manager kept her out of meetings where Lasseter would be present, telling her it would be best for her not to attend the intimate weekly reviews because “John has a hard time controlling himself around young pretty girls.”

Nevertheless, she would sometimes see Lasseter in the hallways, and felt uncomfortable when it appeared he was looking her up and down. “It was almost comical how obvious he was about it,” she said.

She said that being excluded from meetings with Lasseter meant that she was not able to pitch or articulate her ideas or discuss her work with the director. She also felt left out of important conversations that went on in the review room. The experience made her feel undervalued and stifled in her career at the company, and she said it contributed to her decision to leave.

She said managers chose to thwart her career rather than “have difficult conversations with the most important, high-ranking and powerful man in the company.”

The Variety piece also touches on Lasseter’s drinking problems, which were known throughout Pixar and Disney.

Though the reports in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety may be shocking to the public, Lasseter’s behavior has been one of the animation industry’s worst-kept secrets, known to many Pixar and Disney employees.

Former Walt Disney Animation Studios artist (and Oscar-nominated director) Minkyu Lee became perhaps the first industry artist to acknowledge this fact in a tweet this afternoon, writing:

Minkyu Lee tweet.

Sources additionally tell Cartoon Brew that there has allegedly been at least one financial settlement from the Walt Disney Company over Lasseter’s actions. This implies that the behavior went on with the knowledge of Disney and Pixar Animation Studios president Ed Catmull and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

The most disturbing part of Lasseter’s letter is that he says he intends to return in six months. The responsible thing to do at the Walt Disney Company would be to open an independent investigation and learn who knew what when, and who was responsible for allowing Lasseter’s behavior to continue for years. Sweeping aside Lasseter’s years-long abuse of power is not an option anymore.

Unlike CBS and PBS, which both fired news anchor Charlie Rose today following similar allegations of sexual misconduct, the Walt Disney Company is reluctant to let Lasseter go. They released the following statement today: “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.”

John Lasseter’s Memo To The Walt Disney Company

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.

John

(John Lasseter photo via Shutterstock)

  • Anonymous

    Years ago Pixar did a promotional video where all the heads of the company met at a coffee shop after Toy Story was finished to discuss the films they wanted to make next. The reality was the heads of the company all met at a coffee shop to decide which interns they were going to bang.

  • Chicken McPhee

    Wow, respect, JL. One cannot expect this amount of introspective and self reflection from a man with SO much responsibility on his plate. Good on you, hope you recover and recharge your batteries and strive to be the man you want to be.

    • Jiff

      What a strange response to a guy accused of being a serial harasser.

      • Chicken McPhee

        My comment was written when the article was just his letter with no additional context. I was not aware he’s been known to harass people and of course I would never endorse such behavior.

      • Mi name is Rio

        You know Chicken McPhee works for Disney, don’t you?

        Check all his responses on CB, if you don’t beleive me.

  • Cameron Ward

    This is deeply saddening and horrible. I don’t care if the allegations are big or small, this is just disheartening. Out of all the guys to be called out for this, I was not expecting this guy. When I was reading the memo, I was thinking it was him stepping away from Pixar because you know, it isn’t easy running two studios, but it got worse the more I read.

    I hope he fixes his problems, atones for his missteps, but good lord…that’s sad and again, disheartening.

    • Ryan Barrett

      Sad to say but men like this never “fix their problems.” He’s got far too much pride for that. He should be forced to resign, not just “take a leave of absence.” Is he married? I mean this kind of behavior sounds like someone who hasn’t been laid in a very, very long time.

      • Brandon Shorter

        When has marriage ever fixed people sexual problems ?Usually make them worse . and not being laid for a very long time is really common in marriage people cheat all the time so that probably accurate .

      • It’s not a question of “being married”, it’s a question of power. Don’t blame a person’s spouse for that person acting however they choose to act!

        When you are very powerful it must be easy to let that power go to your head – to see how everyone around you shows partiality towards you, especially over DECADES. It might even be that within your company you’re allowed to do anything without consequence, when you continue to also do good work that makes the company so much money. I think this narrative probably applies to lots of the high-profile accusations across many industries that have come up in recent months.

        • Taco

          This post needs more up-votes. Well said Lauren.

    • printable january calendar

      Married with five kids, from what I understand.

  • I really hope its not what i think it this.

  • Does this mean that future Pixar films (Toy Story 4 included) won’t be executive produced by Lasseter?

  • ea

    At least with these news, indie and foreign animation may have a chance at the Oscars.

    • About time for the tables to begin to turn on indie filmmakers. Now that the moral reputation of big Hollywood names has taken a big, deep nosedive (with no end in sight, yet) maybe that could be one welcome side effect. It is good to hear about new voices.

  • Jamz

    You think they’d cancel cars?

  • Dirty Laundry Day

    Sooo.. Cancel Cars?

    • Barrett

      Cancel what Cars? Are they actually developing a FOURTH one after the third was a dud? Christ…..

    • Polecat

      Yes. Let’s do. There have been too damn many already. Sequelitis is a nasty way to die.

      • Matthew

        Just ask Herbie the Love Bug.

        • Polecat

          Why did you have to remind me?!

  • Lori

    I find his statement lacking and bothersome. The language is intentionally evasive, which suggests that either he doesn’t want to own up to his behavior, or more troubling, that he doesn’t find his behavior objectionable.

    • Floor Tom Jones

      One element of this equation is whether any women TOLD Mr Lasseter that they didn’t want to be hugged. The funny thing about power hierarchies is that they insulate the people at the top from lots of corrective data. To think you will be punished for pointing out bad behavior is not the same as actually being punished for bad behavior. I’m not defending John Lasseter per se, the anonymous stories being posted online about his behavior are indeed creepy, but understanding boundaries is a two way street – we are a diverse nation of different cultures after all. If a woman, or a man doesn’t like being hugged then say you don’t like being hugged. I suffered years of double cheek kissing from my aunt before I told her I didn’t like wiping off her lipstick. If I never said anything it would still be going on…

      • Lori

        This is an abuse of power. Your aunt isn’t your boss, or wielding any kind of control over your job, or your professional reputation; the power dynamic is completely different so to compare the two isn’t really an argument. Saying that these women should have pointed out to him that they didn’t want him touching their legs or making comments about their appearance is victim blaming.

      • Barrett

        Any man with an ounce of self-awareness knows when he’s being creepy with a woman. John isn’t some autistic who doesn’t recognize that their “friendliness” is overwhelming or unwanted to the pretty lady they’re approaching. He’s a mature adult with a relatively normal mind who CHOSE to be grabby and kissy with women because he wanted physical contact with them and because of his position of power and influence, was able to “get away with” stuff some Joe Blow would have been canned for.
        That’s how it goes for the vast majority of these harassment stories – men doing what they want with little regard for how the object of their ‘affections’ feels about it.

      • Roca

        Dude, it wasn’t just hugging. Groping, kissing on lips, feeling up the skirt. On what planet is that acceptable?

        • dantes342

          They just don’t get it.

    • Anonymous

      His statement is a Disney-fied version of what really happened.

  • Jonathon Asuna Leafa Richards

    i respect John and i always will do but this is just shocking

    • Barrett

      To me, it doesn’t diminish his creative accomplishments, but him as a human being. Kevin Spacey will always remain a very talented actor, even if he was a kiddie-diddling creep in his personal life. Bill Cosby’s old comedy acts and various shows were quite funny, regardless of his horrific sexual abuse going on in the background.
      I will always admire Lasseter as an animation and filmmaking pioneer, and selfishly hope he can return to a creative role with Pixar at some point. It’s bad enough we lost Joe Ranft too soon, to have Lasseter sent to the glue factory over this would be very bad for Pixar. I do think someone else should be the head of Pixar/Disney and the parks and God knows what else John was tasked with. Let Lasseter go back to being part of the directorial brain trust, cut his compensation accordingly along with his other responsibilities, and keep an eye on him for future bad acts.

      • cartoonguy

        I am not as attached to Lasseter. He did some good stuff, but there are lots of people out there with good ideas that could also do some good stuff. At this point he’s going to be more of a distraction than anything else. Get him out of there. Bring in some fresh blood (that maybe understands to lay off the creepy hugs and thigh-touching).

  • Bob

    Omg a bunch of people were just talking about this at ctn… like who’s the next Hollywood guy to be called out and everyone was sharing stories about Lasseter.

  • Mousekapades

    #IwashuggedbyJohnLasseter

    Too soon?

  • My name is Rio

    So he is the one everybody was talking about…

    I feel very enraged by this lawyer-firm coached pseudo-apology (at least Louis C.K. took it to the chin) when everybody else is being burned at the stake as it should be.

    But hey, this is the Disney where nobody does wrong as long you have some pedigree wth you.

    Now if this wasn’t to defuse a potential backlash for Coco opening this week, I’ll be freaking damned.

    • Barrett

      What “backlash” would that be? This is horrible timing in relation to the release of Coco? What would be WORSE than this that Disney would want to “deflect” from?
      The only negative talk I’ve heard about Coco is that it was too derivative of “The Book of Life”, which anyone working in animation knows is BS because both films were in production for years, and neither is “ripping off” the other.

    • Roca

      Yeah CK’s apology wasn’t really. It was an attempt to manage his image, just like everything else.

  • Robert Holmén

    If he really thought he was just being collegial then he must have been groping the male co-workers too?

    No, he probably wasn’t, which tells us he knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it.

    I think most rich men (45?) have one of those wavy funhouse mirrors they look in each morning to tell them that they are 10x more alluring than they really are. That’s the only way I can explain their apparent bafflement at anyone not being grateful for the grope.

    • San Diego Cinerama

      Matt Taibi said the Crash of 2008 was when short, balding white guys looked in the mirror and saw Brad Pitt. [who is in his early 50s]

      What we see here is a similar phenomenon.

      • Polecat

        And it’s not like Matt Taibbi knows nothing about sexual misconduct…

      • Floor Tom Jones

        Matt Taibbi is hardly one to comment on boorish behavior.(google it)

        • San Diego Cinerama

          Oh I’m aware of that, but his description of the phenomenon is spot on.

  • Charles Sites

    Fuck everything, just shut Hollywood down at this point.

    • Esn

      To play devil’s advocate here, sometimes people have positive qualities that override their romantic moral mishaps, or are horrible people for other reasons even if they’re perfectly sexually non-deviant. If you focus on just one aspect of a person and decide to condemn them without taking other things into account, you can come to some strange results. For example, Hitler was loyal to his wife while Roosevelt had affairs behind his wife’s back and Churchill was a well-known sexist pig. Today, people in the West are losing their careers over groping women, and yet nobody is losing their careers over supporting wars based on lies that have killed millions of people in the Middle East over the past few decades — in fact, such people get promoted more often than not (see: Hillary Clinton, promoted to presidential candidate after masterminding the destruction of Libya, then gloating about it on TV like a psychopath). This groping stuff is bad, but to those who’ve seen the horrors of war, it seems inconsequential and the disproportional focus on it a damn insult. The real reasons that Western society is morally bankrupt and hated by so much of the rest of the world are not being addressed at all, nor will they be for the foreseeable future.

  • Barrett

    Welp, I guess this is one metric that can be employed to determine whether or not someone is really an “animation industry insider.” I’ve been working professionally for over a decade, and I never heard any such rumors about Lasseter. I also never heard anyone talk about his drinking, but between his ownership of a winery and his change in appearance, I didn’t need anyone to tell me he was a drunk. I’m just surprised that he A: was so open with his harassment and physical contact in front of others, and that B: word of this didn’t trickle down the grapevine further. I guess the Pixar and Disney loyalists were devoted to “protecting the brand” if they talked about this with each other but not more peripheral people in animation.

    • Roca

      Are you male or female? Because females spread the word quickly among each other. Trust me.

  • YoJoe

    What really disappoints me is that Disney knew because of a previous settlement. This hurts more than I thought but this is needed. let the chips fall where they may..

  • Skip

    I don’t know all of the details but I remember when the footage of Hayao Miyazaki visiting Pixar came out and John Lasseter ran up and gave him a big hug and seemed to be more touchy feely than would have been expected. Some people suggested that he was behaving beyond cordial implying that there was a kind of sexual attraction there. In that case I think that Lasseter was overly excited upon spending time with a film maker that he has so much admiration for and that is his way of expressing that.

    In Lasseters case he is really a kid at heart and may simply be the type of person that physically oversteps his bounds in terms of personal space in ways that make other people feel uncomfortable without realizing it.

    On the other hand, Lasseter could be behaving as bad or worse than what’s being reported. Whatever the case may be the truth will come out, and if he is really misbehaving as is implied than he deserves whatever appropriate response from Disney as necessary.

    Whatever it turns out being, I’m not going to rush to judgment until I know the facts and I will reserve judgment until the facts come out painting an accurate picture one way or another.

    • The concept of personal space varies wildly between cultures. I’ve noticed that down in South America there’s essentially no such thing as personal space — it’s touchy-feely all over. This becomes less so the further you go up north. On the opposite side there’s the Scandinavians and Germans, whose concept of personal space spans at least several yards around and any unwelcome or unfamiliar irruption into it is perceived as blatantly rude and invasive. In (North) America, well, it depends on who you talk to —it’s usually somewhere between these two extremes. I could understand the emotion of getting to know someone you admire, but how he or she will perceive your amount of contact is a cultural guess at best. Better to stick to the basics if you are not sure.

  • X_Capt_Obvious_X

    If Catmull didn’t step down after proof of wage fixing and collusion with other companies, it doesn’t surprise me that Lasseter is only taking what amounts to a six month vacation.

    • 6 months of vacation…. what a punishment. I wish someone would punish me with 6 months vacation. X_______X

  • alt animation podcast

    Did you really have to go with that picture Amid? I dont think his image deserves protecting, but this just seems like a poor choice for clicks.

  • KW

    Yikes

  • Blasko

    A “sabbatical”? I work in education, and I understand a sabbatical as an earned, contracted leave that affords someone a chance to conduct field research or strengthen professional skills. This is a tactic for Disney to minimize abusive behavior, save face and protect their brand. C’mon, Disney – cut the spin.

    • Matthew

      Disney turned spin into an art form over the decades, from explaining why corporate censorship is For Your Own Good™ to all the “FANTASIA is going away forever so buy it now Now NOW” malarkey for a movie that’s now on Netflix! As a company, they have survived the Great Depression, a multi-year Disney family feud between Walt and Roy that inculded them not speaking over who owns Walt’s name,15+ years of What-Would-Walt-Doism, and the public backlash against the man who helped snap them out of it, so they’ll survive this.

  • Animated Antic

    I really hate my gender right now. Seriously, why can’t men keep their love life inside the house?

    • Matthew

      I really hate the word “g-nd-r” and all the sexism and homophobia it embodies. Please say “sex” instead. Thank you.

      • Mack

        Really? (I’m seriously asking, cause not that long ago, a college teacher went on a rant that they preferred “sex” instead of “g-nd-r.” I try to be sensitive toward such issues, so I’m a little confused what is correct.)

        • Matthew

          Yes, really. And I admire your teacher for speaking up on the subject in order to clarify it. I use the word “sex” to describe being male. A lot of people are trying to confuse the physical with the social.

      • Johnny

        Gender. Wind your neck in, Matthew.

  • Some guys here asking to shut Hollywood down. Grow a good pair of… and well, try to realize once and for all that this is happening EVERYWHERE, no exception. Too much popcorn and American propaganda made many get confused as to what’s behind people who holds power and what happens with those who suffer that power.

    Now, regarding the accusations, I don’t know what is an “unwanted advance”, how can that be defined with accuracy.

    • hannah

      touching someone’s leg is very unwanted, no matter how good a friend you are

    • Marie

      You not knowing what is defined as an “unwanted advance” in the workplace is a major part of the problem.

      • But what is it? A guy asking a woman for a date could be defined as an “unwanted advance”.

        • anonny

          A guy asking for a date could very well be an unwanted advance. Assuming you’re a straight male, imagine if a gay male you’re kind of chummy with at work one day out of the blue asks you if you want to go on a date. You politely decline, but catch him looking at you every so often when he thinks you’re not looking. You’d feel pretty uncomfortable around him then yeah?

          • You assume that the guy asking for a date would then keep the rest of his time at work giving you weird looks. Let’s go back to the fact: sometimes you like a girl, you know she’s single, you are too… after a long, funny, wonderful conversation you ask something like “Are you free on Saturday? I was thinking maybe we could meet, go for a walk, a movie?” (look how innocent it sounds!). That’s asking for a date. Let’s say the girl really dislikes the guy. So, technically his advance was “unwanted”. Report the guy for the crime and make sure he loses his job.

            Unfortunately people in power take advantage of subordinates, everywhere is the same, however, some definitions are not very clear and many accusations are gossips that circulated tens of years ago about hands on knees or undesired requests for a date.

            Regarding your question: no, I wouldn’t. First of all, it is VERY unusual that a gay person asks a straight one for a date and then it is impossible that that person insists after you said no. Gay people tend to be more respectful, low-key and moderate at work than anyone else.

          • Matthew

            A song sang by someone who recently died is a good rule of thumb for all sexual orientations:

            Believe me

            You really don’t have to worry

            I only want to make you happy

            And if you say “hey go away,”

            I will.

        • Marie

          Again, if you don’t know this, assuming you’re a mature adult and not a 12-year-old, then I suggest you stay far away from women until you figure it out. It’s not difficult, dude.

          • Hilarious, you clearly have no idea what to say I see. No clue at all.

            Any of you can’t answer a simple question and I think that reveals the stupidity of some accusations. If you ask someone, anyone out for a date, if that person considers inappropriate the proposal, not matter how innocent and polite it may be, it may be considered an “unwanted advance”.

            As for keeping away from women. I don’t need to. I’m already married. You however, I doubt anyone could get even near.

        • Netko

          I don’t think anyone reasonable would consider a normal co-worker asking a woman out on a date to be harassment. A boss should refrain from doing this however.

  • Revy

    You’re really missing the point. Having a cultural discussion about a double kiss as a greeting is a FAR cry from pointing out a lecherous dude grabbing up your leg. That wasn’t John’s “cultural way of saying hello” – he was looking to get grabby because he had a ton of power over the women around him.

    If you can’t see the difference (after all, you related it to your aunt kissing your cheek..) then you really need to step back and listen to what people are saying for once. Perhaps you don’t have the clarity here that you think you do.

    • Floor Tom Jones

      What Lasseter did is only being reported by nameless, faceless, anonymous employees. In fact, we don’t even know the gender of the people reporting the behavior(although it was reported as being committed against women). Communication in the workplace was the secondary point of my post. If you find unbrage with it so be it.
      The REAL issue I wanted to ask was whether there are Pixar employees who have faced consequences for confronting Lasseter’s behavior. Former employees who were let go perhaps? Now that Lasseter has been outed are we past the anonymous sources yet? And if so why?
      Was his rule so strict that the entirety of the company carried this secret for all this time?
      Seems if it was kept that tightly wrapped, someone must have faced negative repercussions for standing up to his behavior.

      • BUg

        slightly concerned that you forgot that this was in the article,

        “She said that being excluded from meetings with Lasseter meant that she was not able to pitch or articulate her ideas or discuss her work with the director. She also felt left out of important conversations that went on in the review room. The experience made her feel undervalued and stifled in her career at the company, and she said it contributed to her decision to leave.”

        • Hankenshift

          Wahhhh, sorry—but not everyone gets to be creative all the time at a job like that.

      • Lori

        You’re living under a rock if you believe that the reason a woman wouldn’t come forward and say something is because someone else in that specific workplace faced negative consequences for doing so. The norm throughout workplaces is that woman face negative consequences for coming forward- that’s why it’s so hard to do. That’s what rape culture is. There’s a rush to defend the accused, a woman’s past reputation is dragged through the mud, there’s talk of settlements to keep it quiet, but really there’s the insidious impact of becoming a pariah at work. There’s a piece in the NYTimes about Glenn Thrush and Lauren Duca cited it in a recent article about how women who face this kind of harassment go on to feel like the butt of a joke at work, have their coworkers look at them differently to the point where it impacts their ability to do their job. Regardless of whether they speak out or not. Sometimes all it takes is for another coworker to witness one of these meetings where his hands ran up and then rested on a woman’s leg. It silences victims in a way that I don’t think we’re really taking into account. Clearly it wasn’t a secret at Disney/Pixar. It was an open secret much like Louis CK- the women had a name for what he did, so obviously it was being discussed regardless of whether someone was fired or demoted.

        The point is not whether Pixar employees faced negative consequences for speaking out against his behavior. His behavior is the point. It’s not okay at Pixar, it’s not okay at any workplace.

  • Robert Holmén

    Remember when a kid at Pixar got fired just for complaining the cereal bowls were too small? :D

  • Mary

    Today on Possible Pervs…

  • Troy

    I would like to think that we would end with just this, but considering that he is one of the powerful person in the animation industry, the (allegedly awareness) wage lawsuit issue, and that we are still sifting through the long standing hollywood culture, best to brace for impact.

  • Jeff S

    No way! Oh god, please no! That’s very disappointing. Out of all the people….aaah. I’m so done. I dread to think about who will be next. :(

  • Floor Tom Jones

    I posted below that there is a strange lack of data regarding Lasseter’s behavior (just nameless faceless “insiders”) but Vanity Fair just posted a DOOZY of an article with more allegations and information from employees.
    https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/11/disney-pixar-john-lasseter-leave-allegations?mbid=social_facebook

    • dantes342

      Oh don’t worry, it’ll all come out.

  • Valjean

    The news of this had already been leaked on 4chan’s Comics & Cartoons board on Saturday: http://boards.4chan.org/co/thread/96883244/john-lasseter-is-next

    I’m really bummed to find that it was true. :(

  • Polecat

    I wasn’t really into “The Loud House,” so I was intrigued by the Savino case, but didn’t mourn much when I learned what kind of person he was.

    When I read rumors about John K in the wake of that, I wasn’t really surprised. He’s not exactly Mr. Wholesome.

    But this…I’m really having a “say it ain’t so, Joe” moment. I’m a Pixar fan, and this feels like the end of innocence. :(

  • Polecat

    That makes sense. Japanese culture tends to place a fairly high premium on respect and formality from what I’ve seen and read.

    Given that point, what Lasseter did sounds like it’s almost as bad as throwing up in the prime minister’s lap.

  • Valjean

    “That’s why women play coy, keep silent, turn their cheeks and do subtle
    defensive moves to diffuse a situation. Because they know, if it came
    right down to it, most men could overpower them physically if they get
    upset too much.”

    That doesn’t really apply in an office setting though, does it? No woman is stupid enough to think that their boss is going to physically overpower them if they complain about him putting his hand on their leg in the middle of the meeting. It almost sounds like you’re suggesting female employees under Lasseter might have been afraid of being raped at work or something. That’s absurd.

    • Polecat

      Depends. Not all work environments are predictable in that regard (ahem, Miramax). Plus, being in a meeting is one thing, being alone with the other person is another.

  • That Guy

    After seeing a video of one of his graduation speeches where he appeared to be coming off of a night of drinking (from my perspective), I had always wondered if he had some problems behind the scenes. It’s a real shame that it’s worse than I thought. I respect John Lasseter’s accomplishments for the animation industry, but I can’t respect the person anymore. I hope he pays his dues and can salvage some part of that reputation, but I’m sure I speak for more than a few people who will have a hard time trusting him.

    What is it about power that makes these guys go crazy? Is it the insular society of Hollywood, or is it just what happens when people have more influence than they know what to do with?

  • RSIlluminator
    • Polecat

      Hm. Well, it seems like Miyazaki took it a lot better than it was described here, but I can’t be sure, not having been there and not being in Miyazaki’s shoes.

      • Jeremy James

        You can clearly see Miyazaki trying to derail the hug from at least 10 feet away. He sees John coming at him with that big bear hug attack and sticks his hand out like, “Oh no no no no no no. Here! TAKE MY HAND! SHAKE IT YOU BIG SMILING OX! SHAKE…..SHAKE!! NO HUGGING!”

        • Polecat

          I think I’ll have to watch it again. Also, thinking about it now, “taking it better than I thought” may just have been the Japanese way of not wanting to create a scene.

  • ew

    imagine a man who only wears children themed Hawaiian shirts hug a woman where the woman’s arms are down by her side and her body is stiff… his arms over hers, she being clearly uncomfortable, and the hug lingers for a good 30 seconds.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Since Pixar is an animation studio there must be an animated test, a QuickTime, comic or story sketch of this “Lasseter Move.”

    Come on Pixar artists, you have to post this move. Don’t listen to any of the threats the legal department is emailing to you. Remember, your job doesn’t love you.

  • Roca

    Guess what? Men’s behavior is a HUGE reason the glass ceiling exists. Who would want to be in a meeting with a creep?

    • Marie

      Exactly! My first thought when I heard the news was, “Oh, maybe that’s why out of 19 movies over 22 years there’s only been ONE female director of a Pixar movie and they kicked her ass off of it!” It’s becoming increasingly obvious that one factor preventing women’s advancement in the workplace is the attitude that men in positions of power have towards them. It’s infuriating and depressing.

  • Akira

    the same people calling for his execution defended Bill Clinton. hilarious! I wondered why Rashida Jones of all people got the TS writing gig. it couldn’t have been based on her body… of work

  • Frank Coufal

    I completely disheartened about this. I’ve long admired and respected John Lasseter, to the point that I made him one of my heroes. He’s managed to save Disney animation from its rough period in the mid 2000s and has helped create such new classics. Now, I’m torn whether I should continue to admire him or stop as a result of his actions.

    • Jon Turner

      My suggestion is this: if you admire the man for what he’s done creatively then by all means do so. Yes, I’m saddened to hear about this, but you can’t deny his accomplishments.

  • Polecat

    Me too. With all my heart.

  • waterworld

    John Lasseter should be rejected and shamed from the Walt Disney company. There should be no six month vacation. He should be finished today. If you don’t punish the most powerful people for repeatedly screwing up and creating a hostile work environment, the system will NEVER change. John Lasseter should be marched out of his office by security and never heard from again.

  • Matthew

    Ouch, that’s cold. But not outside the realm of believability in light of all this.

  • hannah

    as a female animator, I just want to do my job and have my personal space respected. I dont know why i’d need to tell people this unless they were obtuse

  • Slim Cognito

    something always seemed off about this guy.

    anyway remember this problem is not just limited to him or savino. i’ve already heard murmurs about other people in the industry doing this shit, it’s a problem endemic to Hollywood and culture as a whole.

    • Alex

      Agreed, I have some experienced with this, from a producer Jim in Australia. I’m not sure what constitutes the limits of sexual harassment, But he would show me naked pictures of men to me on his computer in his office and say inappropriate things, which made me uncomfortable. Is this considered misconduct, between two men? He knew I was straight. I also heard he did similar things while producing Maya the Bee. People in power like to do this shit for some reason.

      • Polecat

        Personally, I would say yes, it does constitute at least some form of misconduct. I mean, it’s come out recently that Kevin Spacey used to harass straight men on his sets and get really entitled with them even though he knew they weren’t interested (or maybe precisely because he knew they weren’t interested). And even if he was straight too, I would pretty much say the same thing. Remember the “That’s What She Said” episode of “King of the Hill”?

        I think part of the reason we see this more often with people in power is that 1) people who pursue power for the wrong reasons are more likely to get it. As my dad used to say, “Life is like a septic tank. The biggest chunks float to the top.” And 2) people who are not in positions of power may do it too but fly under the radar sometimes.

  • Pete

    The culture at Disney has been white male dominated since the beginning. Gay men and women are also extremely rare in Disney leadership. The reality is, John likes guys like him in charge– straight white guys– to make him fell more comfortable about his behavior. Openly gay employees at Disney suffer from harassment, bullying, and lack of support from creative empowered groups. Byron Howard’s Zootopia and Frozen are the two highest grossing animation films from Disney . One directed by a gay man and the other a women. By the way– remember Howard Ashman who wrote all the songs for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast… he was also a gay man! Connect the dots, stop isolating people to make your own insecurities easier for you. It’s selfish and shows a great deal of insecurity. Ed knows about leadership… he should get this. Isn’t he running the show??

    • cw

      How can you say that Ed Catmull knows how to be a leader when he was implicated as one of the main wage fixing players? A good leader doesn’t try to undermine the talent that helps them achieve so much.

      With respect to the white male domination..I agree it’s an issue…but I just don’t know if the root of the problem is as simple as discrimination. Ever since I started in animation from school…and now 2 decades later…the percentage of male to female, white to minorities, straight to gay etc has been surprisingly consistent. Example….our student makeup in animation school sat at approximately 10% women. I’ve found that most of the films I’ve worked on across several studios had that same percentage within the animation group. I wish we had more diversity among our ranks from the top down.

      • Pete

        You make a good point about Ed, and the ratio has improved… however at the top it’s a completely different story. Lead creative groups are dominated by straight white men. Im not talking about producers or production assistants who are treated more like accessories. Im speaking of the directors. If you have to be voted into the club… which is how Pixar operates… they’re not going to vote in a minority and risk their lives being more difficult on one of their creative retreats.

        • Hankenshift

          “If you have to be voted into the club… which is how Pixar operates.”

          This is silly. Can you prove this? You can’t just lob this out there without proof.

          That said, most of Pixar’s producers are women (including Hollywood’s most successful producer, Darla Anderson). And several are gay. Same at Disney. And Dreamworks. Has been since the early 1990’s.

          • Pete

            Here’s your proof. Animation feature film making has been around for over 80 years. Name 5 women directors at Disney. Name 5 African American Directors from Disney or Latino etc etc.

    • Matthew

      “Openly gay employees at Disney suffer from harassment, bullying, and lack of support from creative empowered groups.”

      Tell me more about this. I’ve always been under the impression that they were getting better in this respect in recent years than they had been before, considering I’ve known some gays (and heterosexuals) who worked for Disney and this was not the impression I got from them. It saddens me to hear this. I honestly thought they’d turned a corner.

  • Jeremy James

    thought of this article from 7 years ago here on cartoon brew:
    http://www.cartoonbrew.com/pixar/fuck-yeah-john-lasseter-48121.html

    • Mack

      Some of those drawings don’t bode well for Pete Docter.

  • Tony

    Obviously Lasseter isn’t the monster that Harvey Weinstein is, but both have the same fatal flaw: an impulsive personality and overbearing demeanor. If Harvey is an attack pit bull, John is more like a big, friendly sheepdog that jumps on you and slobbers all over you. Very few people like that.

  • Katie Lewis

    Gravity Falls is right!

  • Anonymous

    After reading a lot of the comments here I think Disney will be proud that their “Grabbing and Kissing” spin is working. It’s a lot worse than what the studio is releasing to the public but the public is eating it up with a fork and spoon. It’s the same way they spin all of their movies.
    Don’t fall for the publicity, it’s all fake. Lasseter should be fired along with others at Pixar.

  • commonsensical1

    he’s a predator. he used his position to grab, touch, molest every chance he got. “missteps” is a f’in joke. he’s removing himself from pixar BEFORE all the lawsuits start. i hope he goes down in flames.

    • Sam Passer

      I think that’s a little harsh. I mean, what would you say if you came across a child who loves “Finding Dory” or “Toy Story?” Would you grab their toys and shout “Your hero is an evil man?” Should the child face the facts and abandon all of of their love? That brings to mind if whether it’s logical demonize all of Pixar because of this.

      • Polecat

        Bit of a strawman, I think. Kids are too young to know about some of the things they will find out about their heroes later on. That doesn’t mean inappropriate behavior shouldn’t be given consequences without the starry-eyed kids knowing.

        • Polecat

          An afterthought: when your kids are ready to know about stuff like this, you can use it as a teachable moment (I hate that term, but nonetheless). The fact that a person is really talented and seems warm, friendly, likable and fun does not necessarily mean that they are safe or trustworthy. Sad, but important for a kid to know at some point for safety’s sake.

    • Sam Passer

      I think that’s a little harsh. Sure he did inappropriate things, but I don’t think he should go to jail for life.

  • Sam Passer

    I have known a lot of people who grew up with Pixar films, many of which helped them through tough times. My question is if we can separate the films from the working environment in the studio. I don’t think it’s right to boycott Pixar movies, or block our kids from watching these heartwarming masterpieces. If we did that, it would only cause more harm than good. Because we’re not just hurting Lasseter, but also hurting the animators, musicians, screenwriters, storyboard artists, riggers, voice artists, and every other innocent individual that made such works as “Finding Nemo/Dory,” “Up,” “Wall-E” and “Inside Out” possible.

  • Han Han

    “Cost them their dream job”. This attitude allows perpetrators to keep getting away, keeps victims silenced, and gives the media a way to profit of the sensationalism of it all.

    I find it insane that people justify why harassment remains unreported because of a “chance” of succeeding/getting a dream job. “Chance” because the complacency of the Lasseter’s harassment hasn’t lead to more women or people of color advancing at Pixar.

    A dream job is a job free of harassment. Any job where someone has to put up with harassment isn’t a dream job. What I find weird is that the type of people who can get hired at Pixar are those those can get hired any at any major entertainment company. They are even the type who have enough creative vision and/or connections to make it with or without Pixar.

    If there were any people in this world who didn’t have to take harassment, it would be those employed at Disney/Pixar. So if they are complacent with Lasseter’s abuse, it means that they value money and fame over their own personal agency.

  • BT

    Pixar has a lot of talented animators and artists. They’ve spent the last two decades creating class animated movies and worlds that you can easily get lost in. But, they still have room to grow.

    If Pixar wants to grow as a company, then they need new leadership. They need new leadership that respects their employees, regardless of their gender, race, and so on. They need leadership that allows everyone to have a say in the creative process, regardless of their sex.

    John Lasseter will stay at Pixar for as long as he continues to print money for Disney/Pixar. The merchandise sales from Cars alone is enough to build a theme park (hence Cars Land). But, so far as he bars “certain employees” from company meetings, he’s only holding Pixar back.

    Just my two cents.

  • Polecat

    I know what you mean. :/

  • Hankenshift

    Pool parties at Don’s House??

    Don’t dig too deep.

  • Matthew

    That makes it even worse. Walt’s family must be deeply ashamed that a sex scandal has tainted the company that bears their name.

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