Any time that you change leadership there is an inevitable cultural shift. There was a cultural shift at Disney when I took over for Michel Eisner after 21 years. John Lasseter was in his role for a long time, had an enormous influence on both the culture and the creativity of Pixar, and so of course in John leaving there is inevitable and was an inevitable cultural shift. To get into the details, I’d prefer not to.
Since the initial allegations against Lasseter, new details have emerged that suggest a toxic work environment for some women at Pixar that extended beyond one individual’s behavior.
Therefore, it makes sense that THR also asked Iger about what the Walt Disney Company was doing more broadly to create a safer work environment for its employees. “You have to address specific issues with people,” Iger responded, “but beyond that, you have to make sure that you’re applying one standard to the company for all.”
He added, “[I]t’s critical for us as leaders in this industry to create safe environments for people who have been victims of abuse to speak up and feel safe about speaking up and for others who have witnessed abuse to do the same… You’ve got to communicate very, very effectively to people that if they are a victim, if they have witnessed this, they must come forward because in not doing so they are only perpetuating an unsafe work environment, and that’s not good.”
Ultimately, it won’t be just about victims coming forward, but also having a management team in place that responds appropriately when victims do come forward. As previously reported in Vanity Fair, executives at the highest levels of Disney, including Disney and Pixar Animation president Ed Catmull and Walt Disney Animation Studios production chief Andrew Millstein, knew exactly what Lasseter was doing for years and declined to take meaningful action against him. At least as far as Disney and Pixar’s animation operations are concerned, it may not be the smartest idea to come forward as long as people like that remain in charge of the studios.
Photo at top courtesy Disney-Pixar