Co-founder of Pixar quits Disney following sexual misconduct accusations
Over the past nine months or so, there has been a speight of sexual assault and harassment allegations levelled against high-profile Hollywood elites. It all started, of course, with Harvey Weinstein, who has now pleaded not guilty to all rape and criminal sex act charges. From there, a domino effect started, as more and more people gained the confidence to speak out against abusers in their industry, and greater actions were taken to punish those who were found to have stepped out of line.
And now, after months of allegations, the latest domino has fallen.
John Lasseter, the head of animation for Disney and Pixar, went on leave from the studios last year after several people said that he had been frequently "grabbing," "kissing" and making comments about [people's] physical attributes". On Friday, however, he announced that he would be stepping down from the role at the end of the year due to "missteps".
The 61-year-old had been with Disney since 1979, and is responsible for classics such as Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Monsters Inc. While his filmography may be impressive, however, his conduct at work was reportedly less so. In light of this, he released a statement this week acknowledging his need to step down.
"The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities," Lasseter said in a statement released by Disney. "While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges."
Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney, had many good things to say about Lasseter, and especially praised the way he "set the standard in animation for generations to come."
Iger continued: "John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever. We are profoundly grateful for his contribution, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios."
Originally, Lasseter's absence was only intended to be temporary, and Disney was actually considering reintegrating him into the team at the time he decided to quit.
Back in November, when he first stepped down, the animation giant offered an apology "to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug" or indeed any other form of contact that might have made them feel "disrespected or uncomfortable".
Though no formal charges have been brought up against Lasseter, his behaviour was still considered inappropriate for the workplace (though he, himself, does not appear to have admitted to as much).
Lasseter is an executive producer on The Incredibles 2, which airs later this year, and will continue to work on other projects until the end of 2018. After that, we're not entirely certain about what will happen, as Disney have yet to announce his successor.