Disney’s John Lasseter takes leave of absence, apologizes for unwanted gestures

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

John Lasseter, one of the biggest names in animation, is taking a leave of absence from Disney following what he called “missteps.”

In an internal memo sent to Disney employees obtained by CNN, Lasseter, who is the chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation, said that he 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. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be. It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent,” he wrote.

Lasseter added that he wanted 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,” he added.

According to Lasseter, he and Disney have agreed to “take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here.”

“As hard as it is for me to step away from a job I am so passionate about and a team I hold in the highest regard, not just as artists but as people, I know it’s the best thing for all of us right now,” he wrote. “My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity to start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.”

A Disney spokesperson told CNN the company is “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 spokesperson said.

Lasseter’s statement comes on the same day that The Hollywood Reporter, who first reported Lasseter’s memo, published a story with the headline “John Lasseter’s pattern of alleged misconduct detailed by Disney/Pixar insiders.”

The report quotes an unnamed Pixar employee as saying Lasseter had a reputation among employees “for grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.”

Lasseter is one of the founders of the highly successful Pixar animation studio that has been behind films, including “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Inside Out.” Since its inception, Pixar has gone on to make more than $11 billion at the worldwide box office and win multiple Academy Awards.

Disney bought Pixar in 2006 in roughly a $7 billion deal that made Lasseter the chief creative officer for the company’s two animation studios.

Lasseter is credited with a resurgence for Disney’s Animation, which has seen recent hits like “Frozen” and “Moana.”

He’s also an executive producer for “Coco,” Pixar’s latest film scheduled to hit theaters on Wednesday.

A representative for Lasseter did not immediately respond for comment on this story.

By Frank Pallotta

Trademark and Copyright 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News