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Disney's 'Day of Listening' May Decide Lasseter's Fate

Insiders tell 'The Hollywood Reporter' a return is increasingly unlikely for Disney and Pixar chief, on sabbatical after admitting 'missteps' in his treatment of women. 

Reports suggest a return as chief creative officer of Disney Animation Studios and Pixar is unlikely for John Lasseter, who is on sabbatical after admitting "missteps" in his treatment of women.

The staff of Disney Animation Studios will participate Thursday in what Disney is calling “A Day of Listening,” during which employees will discuss workplace concerns with human-resource professionals, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The trade cites unidentified insiders as saying Disney will use the event to gauge staff’s receptiveness to the return of John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of both Disney Animation Studio and Pixar.

Lasseter announced in November a six-month sabbatical and acknowledged “missteps” related to his treatment of women employees. As head of Pixar, Lasseter played a huge role in the development of computer animation, directing classic shorts and features as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars. He earned two Oscars, one for the short film Tin Toy and a special achievement award for Toy Story. He led Pixar to its purchase in 2006 by Disney and has since overseen a revival in quality at Disney Animation Studios. Prior to his sabbatical, he was easily the most influential person in the animation industry.

Other insiders tell the trade it’s increasingly unlikely that Lasseter will return, leaving both Disney Animation Studios and Pixar in need of new leadership.

THR reports speculation has centered on Pete Docter, director of Up and Inside Out, and Andrew Stanton, director of Finding Nemo, WALL-E and Finding Dory, stepping up as co-heads of Pixar. On the Disney side, Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee and Zootopia directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore are mentioned as likely sharing Lasseter’s job at Disney.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.