In an October memo, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation staff were advised that Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter would be taking what The Walt Disney Company delineated as a six-month “sabbatical” resulting from undefined “missteps” in the workplace.
First reported by THR in association with Disney/Pixar insiders, Lasseter, 61, is accused of drinking “heavily” at corporate events, and hounded by a pattern of alleged misconduct, described as “grabbing, kissing and making comments about physical attributes of women.”
Lasseter’s half-year leave of absence is drawing to a close now and many animators are convinced the Toy Story director will not return. In fact, multiple sources believe that Bob Iger, Disney chairman and CEO, is preparing to cut ties with him. “Bob is about keeping peace in the family. He’s not anxious to take on defending somebody with that kind of reputation,” said one individual.
The Principal Creative Officer for Walt Disney is said to have amassed so much power during his tenure, that underlings would confer with Lasseter before following through on Iger’s instructions. However, if, or rather when, the CEO does bid farewell to the CCO, there will be no love lost between Iger and his employees, who felt that Lasseter “bullied and belittled them and hogged credit for years.”
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, there’s Lasseter’s comportment with female employees. According to a former Pixar insider, “If John goes back, it will kill women in animation. The message will be so clear: Shut up and take it.”
While Disney has remained mum on the subject thus far, the multinational mass media conglomerate doesn’t appear to be backing Lasseter any longer. In February, the company held a “day of listening” where human resources professionals were brought in to “facilitate a discussion of workplace concerns.”
Potential Lasseter successors are reported to include Pete Docter (Inside Out), Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) and Jennifer Lee (Frozen), and as soon as we learn more about the situation surrounding Pixar, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Source: Heroic Hollywood