Over a year ago, Pixar co-founder and chief creative officer John Lasseter announced that he would be taking a temporary leave from his positions at the studio and Walt Disney Animation over sexual misconduct allegations, with Lasseter admitting in a statement that he had made some of his employees feel “disrespected or uncomfortable” due to what he characterized as the occasional “unwanted hug.” Another report that came out at the same time as Lasseter’s statement framed his alleged behavior differently, though, saying he had a habit of “grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes” of women at events and in the office, with others saying that women at Pixar had adapted a specific posture that they called “The Lasseter” so he wouldn’t put his hands on their thighs during meetings.
As Lasseter’s temporary leave went on, more allegations of sexism from within Pixar came out, with insiders in the industry eventually saying that Lasseter would never be returning to Disney. Then, over the summer, Lasseter made it official by announcing that he would move into a “consulting” position at Pixar and Disney Animation before leaving entirely at the end of the year. Everything’s going to work out just fine for John Lasseter, though, because he’s already lined up another job running an animation studio not even six months after being forced to step down from the last one for sexual harassment.
According to Variety, Lasseter’s new gig is heading up Skydance Animation, a fledgling studio that has yet to release its first feature film. The main Skydance branch is an established production company, though, having had a hand in Mission: Impossible—Fallout, Annihilation, Star Trek Beyond, Netflix’s Altered Carbon, and Amazon’s Jack Ryan. Skydance CEO David Ellison released a letter to his staff preemptively defending the decision today, referring to accused sexual harasser John Lasseter as an “industry visionary” and claiming that, while the studio “would never minimize anyone’s subjective views on behavior,” it’s confident that Lasseter’s “mistakes have been recognized.”
The letter also notes that Lasseter has “given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner,” which sure is nice. Problem solved! All you have to do is ask the accused harasser to stop harassing and they’ll do it. Why didn’t anyone else ever think of that, Skydance? Anyway, Time’s Up has released an appropriately unenthusiastic response to this news, noting that Skydance’s decision “endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence,” with Women And Hollywood publisher Melissa Silverstein saying that “David Ellison should be ashamed of himself.”