Pixar Founder John Lasseter on Leave After Misconduct Allegations

By Faith Magbanua, November 23, 2017 00:11 AM

John Lasseter(Facebook)

John Lasseter, head of animation giant Pixar and Disney's animation studio, is currently taking a leave of absence after allegations of misconduct emerged about him.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, reports from the current and former staff claims that Lasseter frequently gave unwanted hugs and invaded personal space. Other sources allegedly said that he was known for "grabbing, kissing, making comments".

In a statement given by Lasseter, he apologized "to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug".

However, testimonials given by female employees at Pixar said that they allegedly knew how to handle Lasseter when he approached them in order to dodge his alleged advances. Some women have even used a reported common move, called "the Lasseter," which was to allegedly prevent him from touching their legs. THR reports that a longtime insider once witnessed an uncomfortable encounter between Lasseter and another woman.

The insider alleges about the above: "She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh. 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."

Lasseter have also asked for forgiveness for his "missteps" and "any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form".

"Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down," he said.

"No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected."

Lasseter, the founding member of Pixar, said he would be taking a six-month leave of absence to "start taking better care of myself".

As the chief creative officer at both Pixar and Walt Disney animation studios, he is one of the driving forces in the industry and has been behind some of the most successful children's films in the last two decades.

He was the director of Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Cars; and has producer credits on dozens of major films including Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Up, and Frozen.

Disney, in a statement quoted by Reuters news agency, said it appreciated his "candor and sincere apology" and supported his decision to take a leave of absence.

Pixar's latest movie, Coco - on which Lasseter is credited as an executive producer - releases on 22 November 2017 in the United States, hours after his leave of absence was announced.

The fantasy adventure film is scheduled for release in UK theatres in January.


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