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Pixar Chief John Lasseter Taking Leave After Sexual Harassment Allegations

Pixar co-founder and Walt Disney Animation chief John Lasseter is taking a six-month leave of absence for what he describes as "missteps" with female employees.

The distinct Hawaiian shirt-wearing personality behind films like 'Toy Story' acknowledges crossing lines and "difficult conversations."

In his statement to employees at the company, Lasseter writes that while he has "always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers.... I have been falling short in this regard."

"I've 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," he admits.

"That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to 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."

"In my conversations with Disney, we are united in our commitment to always treat any concerns you have with the seriousness they deserve, and to address them in an appropriate manner... And we agree the first step in that direction is for me 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. 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."

It appears Lasseter took the move to get ahead of any expose that could've led to his outright firing.

He tells the staff he will use the "sabbatical" to "return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve."

November 22, 2017 |

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