One longtime Pixar employee says Lasseter was known for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.”
Rashida Jones is still credited as a writer on Toy Story 4, the next installment in the beloved franchise. But, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, the actress and her writing partner at the time, Will McCormack, left the project early on after John Lasseter, the acclaimed head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, made an unwanted advance.
Jones and McCormack did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Disney declined to comment on the alleged incident though a studio source said the departure was over “creative differences.” Multiple sources spoke with THR but asked not to be named out of fear that their careers in the tight-knit animation community would be damaged.
Based on the accounts of former Pixar insiders as well as sources in the animation community, the alleged incident was not an isolated occurrence. One longtime Pixar employee says Lasseter, who is well-known for hugging employees and others in the entertainment community, was also known by insiders for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” Multiple sources say Lasseter is known to drink heavily at company social events such as premiere parties but this source says the behavior was not always confined to such settings.
Now Lasseter is taking a leave of absence from Pixar after acknowledging “painful” conversations and unspecified “missteps,” he wrote in a memo to staff on Tuesday. The leave is said to be for six months, a source tells THR.
“I have always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers,” Lasseter stated. “This kind of creative culture takes constant vigilance to maintain. It’s built on trust and respect, and it becomes fragile if any members of the team don’t feel valued. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen; and I now believe I have been falling short in this regard.”
The executive added: “I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them.”
It is hard to overstate Lasseter’s value to Disney. He is known as the genius behind Pixar films from Toy Story to the upcoming Coco. He took charge of Walt Disney Animation in 2006 and lead a revival that included such gigantic hits as Frozen and Inside Out.
Sources say some women at Pixar knew to turn their heads quickly when encountering him to avoid his kisses. Some used a move they called “the Lasseter” to prevent their boss from putting his hands on their legs. A longtime insider says he saw a woman seated next to Lasseter in a meeting that occurred more than 15 years ago.
“She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh,” he says. “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.”
The same source said he once noticed an oddly cropped photo of Lasseter standing between two women at a company function. When he mentioned that to a colleague, he was told, “We had to crop it. Do you know where his hands were?”
Another former insider remembers awkward encounters with Lasseter, who liked — as many in the industry do — to hug in meetings. “You’d hug him and he’s whisper in your ear, a long time,” this person says. “He hugged and hugged and everyone’s looking at you. Just invading the space.”
Lasseter is best known as one of the founders of Pixar, which began as a part of the graphics group at Lucasfilm. Along with Ed Catmull, he popularized CGI in animation with early films likeMonster’s Inc. In 2006, after Disney purchased Pixar, Lasseter was named the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He has since become the face of all Disney animation, overseeing the recent resurgence of the studio’s namesake brand with properties like Frozen and Moana.
While Lasseter has won two Oscars (one is a specialty Oscar for his work on Toy Story), Pixar has racked up eight best animated feature wins. Under Lasseter’s purview, WDA has picked up three wins, most recently with last year’s Zootopia.
Pixar films have grossed over $6 billion at the domestic box office. The Emeryville-based company is set to release their next feature, Coco, on Wednesday. Pixar is currently working on a sequel to The Incredibles and the fourth Toy Story installment. WDA will release the Wreck It Ralph sequel next year.
ooh, this’ll be a hard one because i’ve cleaned out my classics collection at least three times at this point
alright, in no particular order, here’s some really good classics/generations figures:
Generations Sixshot. It’s straight up just the G1 toy with more joints, plus it’s a headmaster as a little bonus. Good shit.
Classics Prime. This toy, despite being from 2006, still holds up super well. One of the best Optimus Prime toys ever made.
2010 Jazz. This toy is stupidly good, one of the best deluxe car Autobots ever made.
Classics Bumblebee. Like Classics Prime, this toy is still stupidly good despite being from 2006. As far as mass-retail toys of G1 Bumblebee go, this one has yet to be topped and I’m surprised they don’t rerelease it more often.
Generations Whirl. Who would have thought we’d get a weirdly slavish G1-accurate toy of Whirl? It takes some influence from the IDW design but this is like 90% G1 Whirl and I love it.
Titans Return Alpha Trion. This toy is massively underrated, a lot of people skipped it because it’s such a weird concept. I love it, though. It reminds me of Transformers: Cybertron. Takara did a really nice repaint of this as Leo Prime, but it’s expensive and I’ve already got this one. So fuck it.
Fall of Cybertron Blaster. I sold this a while back, but I kinda miss it. Blaster is my favorite Transformer, and this dude was my definitive Blaster for a while. He’s since been replaced by TR Blaster, but I miss this dude.
Generations Thrilling 30 Cybertronian Skywarp. This is one of my favorite mass-market Seeker molds, and Skywarp is my favorite seeker. So yeah.
Revolution Jetfire. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jetfire, so I’m glad he finally got a massive Leader-class toy to himself. This figure also got retooled (kinda poorly) as the Seekers, and I do own the Skywarp version of it as well, but you can’t beat the Jetfire version of it.
Titans Return Nightbeat. I resent this toy for not being a “proper” toy of Nightbeat (who was arguably the most iconic Headmaster pre-MTMTE), but I can’t stay mad at its stupid, screaming face. It’s a fun little desk toy.
Titans Return Chromedome and Rewind. Both of them are perfect representations of the characters from the comics and they look great together. I might not like MTMTE/Lost Light anymore for a variety of reasons, but I still have a soft spot for the power couple.
Titans Return Topspin. This toy is like, stupidly good. Way too good. It feels like it has twice as much plastic as your average deluxe and it’s engineering is just superb. There is literally nothing bad about this toy and it’s kinda insane.
Generations Tankor. This toy is bizarrely good too, plus who the hell expected a classics-style remake of Tankor from Beast Machines? Either way I’m glad it got made.
Legends Slipstream. The Generations Windblade base mold isn’t very good, but I can’t hate this figure. It’s purple and teal, it’s a seeker, it’s a Decepticon girl, I’m basically obligated to love it.
Legends Nightbird/Arcee. I couldn’t decide which version of this figure I liked better, so I just listed both. It’s a really good toy, plus they were both LOOOONG overdue.
Legends Chromia. This one’s cheating because it’s mostly just Prime Arcee’s figure, but screw it, I like that figure. I’m not fond of the Takara version’s weird lipstick (it looks awful in person, really poorly applied), but I like the Takara version’s everything else. Plus it comes with a fun Sakamoto comic to laugh at.
UW Megatronia. A much, MUCH better take on the Victorion set. Better colors, better faction, better everything.
Combiner Wars Sky Lynx. Why does this exist? Who made a new toy of Sky Lynx that’s also a combiner? Why is it so good? I love it.
Titans Return Overlord. It’s not a perfect take on the character, but it is a damn fine one. I just wish the face was more IDW than… nothing at all.
Let’s finish off this list with one last one:
Combiner Wars Legends Shockwave. Shockwave is one of my favorite G1 Decepticons, so I’m glad to see him wherever he shows up. I’d rather have a big fancy Voyager-class Shockwave, but I’ll take this fun baby-sized one.
So that’s my list of some of my favorite Classics/Universe/RTS/2010/Generations/Henkei/United/Generations/Legends/whatever figures. Feel free to yell at me if I didn’t mention your favorite.
Oh god Yvonne where do I even start? A Broadway lover like me with the biggest heart, I’ve never been able to repay you for your care package. My little one still plays with the toys you sent me. I know you’ve been through so much heartache but it just makes you stronger, and to watch you struggle has been heartbreaking, but to see you triumph over it is pure joy. You are an incredible human being, so giving and full of love, and I mean when I say it is an absolute PRIVILEGE to be able to know you, let alone call you my friend. I am endlessly thankful for our boys if only for the fact that they led me to know people like you. I love you. I love you so much. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️