Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter released a memo written by John Lasseter that announced his six-month “sabbatical” to staff. The decision, he said, was made after “missteps” in his behavior were brought to his attention, but he did not provide much detail on what those “missteps” were. Since that story broke, though, THR ran a story with anonymous sources describing a pattern of physically inappropriate behavior by Lasseter, which predominantly targeted women who worked under him, and now more outlets are publishing their own stories with more sources.
According to Variety, “there has long been widespread discomfort about Lasseter’s hugs and about the other ways he showers attention on young women,” and their report includes accounts similar to the ones first reported by THR. One former employee described a “sexist and misogynistic” culture at Pixar. Another said she was warned that Lasseter “likes to hug the pretty girls,” and that, “He might try to kiss you on the mouth.” Yet another corroborated the statement that the company’s co-founder had a habit of approaching women in the office and kissing them on the mouth, and one woman described an environment that was permissive of his behavior, saying, “He could make comments that were uncomfortable or awkward or embarrassing for women. And it was all, ‘Oh ha ha, that’s just our John.’”
In another report, Vanity Fair describes a call between Disney and Pixar executives from 2010 in which allegations of Lasseter kissing and “fondling” a woman who worked at Disney were discussed. “The subject of the phone call was, ‘Shit, what are we going to do about John?’” a source told Vanity Fair. “Lasseter is the crazy-horny 13-year-old who you have to keep in check all the time. But there’s no No. 2 for John. He’s the beating heart of Disney Animation and Pixar. He’s a genius. Nobody can do what he does.” Vanity Fair also interviewed ten current and former Disney and Pixar employees who provided similar stories to those shared with THR and Vanity Fair — women talking about extra-long hugs from Lasseter, whispers in their ears, and frequent inappropriate touching. Disney has not provided any additional comment on the accusations.