Actress Rashida Jones and writing partner Will McCormack deny ‘unwanted advance,’ instead point to lack of ‘an equal creative voice’ for women and people of color at Pixar Animation Studios.
Rashida Jones, along with writing partner Will McCormack, have refuted a report from The Hollywood Reporter that claimed the actress left Toy Story 4 as a writer after Pixar and Disney Animation chief creative officer John Lasseter made an “unwanted advance” towards her.
Jones and McCormack reportedly said they applauded the unnamed sources included in the story who told THR that Lasseter’s actions made them uncomfortable, but disputed that Lasseter had been sexually inappropriate toward Jones.
As reported by The New York Times, Jones instead said the duo left over “philosophical differences,” asserting that their exit was because they believed women and people of color did not have “an equal creative voice” at Pixar:
“The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences. There is so much talent at Pixar, and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.”
Lasseter, currently chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, announced a six-month leave of absence on Tuesday, citing unspecified “missteps” and acknowledging that he possibly made coworkers feel “disrespected or uncomfortable.”
The Pixar co-founder’s announcement was followed by a report from THR containing allegations of a longtime pattern of sexual misconduct by the filmmaker, including “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” The article also detailed how employees at Pixar Animation Studios have long been aware of Lasseter’s behavior, with numerous stories of groping, and a defensive move dubbed “the Lasseter” employed to stave off unwanted attention.
The news has sent shockwaves throughout the animation industry and beyond, even as the studio’s Coco, for which Lasseter served as executive producer, arrives in theaters.