The full statement by Jones and McCormack was sent to New York Times reporter Brooks Barnes, who posted it on his Twitter. It reads:
We feel like we have been put in a position where we need to speak for ourselves. The break neck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible and, in fact, counterproductive for the people who do want to tell their stories. In this instance, The Hollywood Reporter does not speak for us. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. That said, we are happy to see people speaking out about behavior that made them uncomfortable. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.
There is so much talent at Pixar and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice, as is demonstrated by their director demograpics [sic]: out of the 20 films in the company’s history, only one was co-directed by a woman and only one was directed by a person of color. We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.
The statement raises so many more questions than it answers. Obviously, Jones and McCormack would have been aware of Pixar’s ‘boy’s club’ history before joining the studio. The number of white male directors at the company was hardly a secret.
So what made them uncomfortable about that set-up after they started writing the film? What experiences did they have that made them believe that Pixar doesn’t value women and people of color? That’s not answered in their statement.
The point they make though does reaffirm what so many people have said about the company over the years, from the criticisms of firing Brenda Chapman from her film Brave and replacing her with a man, to the long-running questions about why a white male was allowed to direct Coco, a film deeply rooted in Mexican culture. The latter became such a hot-button issue – especially after Disney tried to obtain a trademark on Mexico’s cultural holiday – that Pixar was forced to hire a slew of Mexican cultural advisers and add a Mexican-American co-director to placate critics.
On the eve of Coco’s release, Jones and McCormack’s statement opens up a new lines of inquiry into the workplace environment of Pixar and what is truly going on within the Emeryville studio.
If you have more details from the inside, drop us a line. Anonymity guaranteed.