LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – John Lasseter, the head of Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation has taken a leave of absence over allegations of misconduct towards employees.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lasseter – who directed “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Cars” — announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that he was taking a “six-month sabbatical” over allegations that he had made some employees feel “disrespected or uncomfortable.”
Lassetter has been in charge of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation since 2006. The leave of absence comes as the Reporter was set to publish a story about his alleged misconduct.
His memo, which was was obtained by the Reporter, read in part:
“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.”
The Reporter cited sources within Pixar who said “Toy Story 4” staff writer Rashida Jones and her then-writing partner Will McCormack left the project in response to an unwanted advance made by Lasseter.
Pixar sources told the trade publication that Lasseter was known for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” Sources also told THR that Lasseter, who has a reputation for hugging his staffers, was known to drink heavily at company gatherings.
Pixar’s latest film, “Coco,” comes out on Thanksgiving day.
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