Chief creative officer of Pixar John Lasseter will be leaving the company at the end of the year, according to a statement released by the company. Lasseter has been on a sabbatical from the company since November when he sent a memo to company employees apologizing for "unwanted hugs." Employees began to report he often rubbed female employees' legs inappropriately and kissed them on the lips.
“John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original,
The company's statement didn't describe the reasons for Lasseter's departure, while also noting that he will serve in a consulting role through the end of the year.
Lasseter also shared a statement about the departure.
“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career
The animator had been with Pixar since 1984, though it was his directorial duties on the 1995 breakout hit Toy Story that put both Lasseter and the animation studio on the map.
Despite the studio's impressive catalog of films, Lasseter will also be attached to the studio's missteps, as critics have pointed out Pixar's lack of gender or racial diversity with its storylines. Additionally, Lasseter developed a reputation for regularly crossing employee boundaries and making them uncomfortable.
Last fall, Rashida Jones parted ways as a writer from Toy Story 4, citing "creative and philosophical differences” while claiming Pixar had “a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.”
Pixar's next film, Incredibles 2, lands in theaters on June 15th.
Are you surprised by how Lasseter is handling these allegations? Let us know in the comments below!