Famous artistic director of Disney’s animated studio, John Lasseter, is the last big name caught up in the wave of sex scandals that has swept through Hollywood and all American public life since the start of the Weinstein affair.
The man who is credited with reviving Disney, today at the forefront of animation, announced Tuesday that he would take a six-month leave after inappropriate behavior towards employees of the company.
In an internal statement sent by Disney, the director of Toy Story(1995) and Cars (2006) apologized to “anyone who has ever received an unapproved embrace or any other gesture that has crossed the line, in any form that it’s on his part.
He also admits to “failing” to instill a culture of “trust and respect” in his studios. “I recently had a lot of difficult conversations that were very painful for me. It’s never easy to cope with your mistakes, “he said.
The creative director of Disney Studios and Pixar says he has agreed to take a six-month sabbatical to “think about the way forward” and “start taking better care of (him)”.
A spokeswoman for Disney said the company is “committed to maintaining a work environment in which all employees are respected and have the ability to give the best of themselves.”
“We appreciate John’s sincerity and apology,” she added.
The trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter, citing multiple unnamed sources, describes an “alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior (from Lasseter) detailed by internal sources at Disney and Pixar.”
A source used by Pixar told the Hollywood Reporter that Lasseter was known to “catch, kiss, comment on physical attributes.”
The magazine writes that “unwanted advances” to actress Rashida Jones, who contributed to the storyline of Toy Story 4, prompted her to leave this project sooner than expected even though a studio source credits her with ” creative differences “.
Another source says that “if you hug him, he whispered in your ear for a long time.” “He hugged you again and again and everyone was watching you,” the same source added.
Others say he was still trying to put his hands on the legs of his collaborators.
Lasseter, strong build, man-like and known for his collection of Hawaiian shirts, played a pivotal role in the recovery of the Disney animation studio in the early 2000s, which seemed then dangerously in decline.
Toy Story , directed by Lasseter and released in 1995, was the first computer-animated feature film, a technique that became the norm later. Since its release, Pixar Studio has won thirteen Oscars and has become a subsidiary of Walt Disney Group.
Under the leadership of Lasseter, Disney has accumulated ten of the highest grossing films in its history, led by Frozen (2013), a real phenomenon, or Tangled (2010), Finding Dory (2016), etc.
The announcement of his departure on leave follows an avalanche of complaints about allegations of various seriousness, against many personalities of entertainment and politics, among others.
It all started in early October with revelations from the New York Times and the New Yorkerabout producer Harvey Weinstein, who is accused by a hundred women of sexual harassment, assault or rape. Filmmakers Brett Ratner and James Toback, actors Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor, are among the other offending names.
Monday, it is the famous television journalist Charlie Rose who was sacked of the programs he animated on PBS and CBS, including after being accused of harassment and touching. He said he was “very embarrassed”.
In politics, the legendary figures of the Democratic Party John Conyers or Al Franken are accused of sexual harassment and forced kissing respectively. Republican Roy Moore is accused of sexual assault on minors.