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Lasseter steps back at Disney, Pixar

Disney Animation and Pixar chief John Lasseter is taking a leave of absence for six months after admitting “missteps,” following allegations of misconduct levelled against him.

John Lasseter

Lasseter, who took the helm at Disney Animation after it bought Pixar in 2006, released a memo to staff in which he apologised “to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug.”

The Hollywood Reporter, which obtained the memo, said former and current staff had had their personal space invaded while Lasseter was reportedly known for “grabbing, kissing and making comments about physical attributes.”

Lasseter co-founded Pixar, which emerged from Lucasfilm, and has been behind an array of animated programming and movies, including Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

The exec said he had “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,” he said. “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.

“No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”

Disney said: “We are 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.”

Meanwhile, US actor, producer and scribe Rashida Jones and writing partner Will McCormack have accused Pixar of having “a culture where women and people of colour do not have an equal creative voice.”

The comments came after Jones and McCormack, who were attached as writers on Toy Story 4, denied they left the production because of “unwanted advances.”

“We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders,” the duo said in a statement to The New York Times. Disney is yet to respond.

In related news, CBS and PBS have cut ties with anchor Charlie Rose overnight over allegations of misconduct.

CBS said the decision “followed the revelation yesterday of extremely disturbing and intolerable behaviour.”

In a statement, Rose said he “deeply apologised” for his “inappropriate behaviour.”

Earlier this week, actor Jeffrey Tambor cast doubt on his future in flagship Amazon drama Transparent following two allegations of sexual harassment made against him.

This came after severe allegations were made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by multiple women, which were followed by numerous individuals speaking out against figures including Louis CK and Kevin Spacey.

Netflix ended its own flagship show, House of Cards, as a result of the claims made about Spacey.

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