March 19, 2019

John Lasseter, Ousted From Pixar in #MeToo Wave, Finds New Hollywood Home

He will replace Bill Damaschke, a former DreamWorks Animation executive.

Time’s Up, the organization founded by women in Hollywood in response to the #MeToo movement, criticized Skydance as “providing another position of power, prominence and privilege to a man who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.” The hire, Time’s Up added in a statement, “endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence.”

Time’s Up, whose founders include Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes, said three things were needed for men like Mr. Lasseter to return to positions of authority: a demonstration of true remorse, deep work to reform their behavior and restitution to those harmed.

“Offering a high-profile position to an abuser who has yet to do any of those things is condoning abuse,” the organization said.

The accusations against Mr. Lasseter did not rise to the level of those against powerful Hollywood figures like Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of acts of sexual misconduct and rape going back decades, or Leslie Moonves, the former CBS chief who was found to have engaged in “multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct,” according to a report by CBS investigators. Both Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Moonves have denied engaging in nonconsensual sexual activity.

But the complaints made by Pixar and Disney employees against Mr. Lasseter were serious enough to prompt his ouster. The Hollywood Reporter cited “grabbing, kissing and making comments about physical attributes” as recurring behavior by Mr. Lasseter in meetings and at work events, particularly when he had consumed alcohol. Multiple staff members — none who came forward publicly — also told managers at Disney that Mr. Lasseter had become increasingly domineering over the years.

As word spread in Hollywood this week that Mr. Lasseter was close to finding new employment, several influential women involved with the #MeToo movement noted that he expressed no regret for his behavior or discussed making efforts to reform when he left Disney in June. In a statement at the time, he said he had made his own decision to “begin focusing on new creative challenges.”

Disney had put Mr. Lasseter on leave in November 2017. At that time, he sent an email to employees at Pixar and the separate Walt Disney Animation studio apologizing “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.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/business/media/john-lasseter-skydance.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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