Pixar co-founder and “Toy Story” and “Cars” director John Lasseter is taking a six-month leave of absence from the company in light of new sexual harassment allegations.
THR reports one major incident involved actress and writer Rashida Jones who was writing the script for the upcoming fourth “Toy Story” with her partner Will McCormack. She left the project early on after Lasseter made an unwanted sexual advance towards her although she and McCormack are still credited as writers on the sequel.
Lasseter serves as the chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios. His inappropriate behavior allegedly also entailed uncomfortable long hugs with employees along with “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes” and heavy drinking at company functions.
Lasseter has sent out a full memo to employees deeply apologising for making any employees feel disrespected or uncomfortable. A Disney spokesperson made the following statement: “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.”
The news hits as Pixar’s newest animated feature “Coco” opens today and has scored the company’s best reviews in years.