John Lasseter Comeback

It’s been nearly a year since John Lasseter announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from Pixar Animation as a way of getting ahead of any complaints about possible sexual misconduct. In reports that followed, Lasseter was accused by several Pixar employees of “grabbing, kissing, and making comments about physical attributes.” Since then, it was announced that Lasseter would not be returning to work at Disney, and his last day would be at the end of the year.

Now that John Lasseter’s work at Disney is officially ending, word on the street is that he’s out looking for a new job elsewhere in Hollywood. This raises questions about how (or rather if) the industry should support or allow these kind of comebacks from disgraced individuals who have been accused of sexual misconduct, especially if it’s happened on more than one occasion. Read More »

John Lasseter's Replacements

It’s official: Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are replacing John Lasseter at Disney and Pixar, respectively. Lasseter, a long-standing creative force at Disney, is stepping down in light of possible misconduct allegations. Lee and Docter were previously announced as interim replacements for Lasseter, but now it appears their new roles will be permanent.

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Pixar After John Lasseter

(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises. In this edition: how Pixar can move forward following the departure of John Lasster by championing its younger filmmakers.) 

This week marks the release of Pixar Animation Studios’ twentieth computer-animated feature film, Incredibles 2. Over the past 23 years, Pixar has risen from rebellious upstart in the industry to the dominant force that other animation studios can only hope to follow. In 1995, making a computer-animated feature film was a folly on the same level as Walt Disney deciding to make a hand-drawn animated feature back in the 1930s. As with the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the success of Toy Story represented the beginning of a sea change in animation.

Last Friday saw a different change, one that is arguably overdue: John Lasseter’s announcement that he’s stepping down from his posts at Disney and Pixar at the end of 2018.

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John Lasseter leaving Disney

John Lasseter‘s days at Disney are coming to an end. Last year, sexual misconduct allegations against the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios lead to Lasseter taking a leave of absence. Recently, rumors surfaced that Disney might bring Lasseter back in a limited role. Now, word comes that Lasseter will leave Disney by December 31, 2018.

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john lasseter return

Six months after former Pixar and Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter took a sudden leave of absence following reports of his sexual misconduct at the workplace, Disney is considering bringing him back.

A new report reveals that Disney executives have been debating letting John Lasseter return to the company. However, Lasseter’s role would be stripped of executive authority, with the animation guru working in a strictly creative capacity.

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Toy Story 4 writer

Toy Story 4 is scheduled to hit theaters next year, but is that even possible at this point? The highly-anticipated sequel has just now added a writer, and depending on how much has to be written for the film, there’s a strong indication that the film might be delayed. More on the new Toy Story 4 writer below.

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Pixar logo

(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises. In this edition: in the wake of the allegations against John Lasseter, where does Pixar go from here?)

Over the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about Brenda Chapman.

Maybe you don’t know Brenda Chapman’s name, but you’re probably familiar with her work. She’s a career animator and filmmaker, having started out at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the late 1980s on The Little Mermaid, before moving up the ranks to become the head of story on The Lion King, and then jumping over to the fledgling DreamWorks Animation to co-direct The Prince of Egypt. Chapman’s biggest success should have been when she moved to Pixar Animation Studios to direct a film inspired by her relationship with her daughter, an emotional adventure set in the Scottish Highlands about a rebellious redheaded teenager and her prim and proper mother.

That movie, of course, is Brave, the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature. While Chapman got a moment of triumph there, giving an acceptance speech next to director Mark Andrews, she’d been replaced in 2010 on the project. We can chalk that up to those fabled “creative differences.” Not everyone who’s replaced as a director on a film at Pixar leaves the company (see Bob Peterson and The Good Dinosaur), but only a few months after she won the Oscar, when asked if she could ever imagine returning to Pixar, Chapman said the following: “That door is closed. I made the right decision to leave and firmly closed that door. I have no desire to go back there. The atmosphere and the leadership doesn’t fit well with me.”

So, among the many feelings and thoughts that ran through my mind after I read story after story of allegations of sexual abuse and harassment against John Lasseter, the current head of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, I kept thinking about Brenda Chapman.

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Andrew Kreisberg fired

It took the Harvey Weinstein case to get Hollywood to finally open its eyes to the flood of sexual harassment and sexual assault situations that have been happening in the industry for years (sometimes lasting decades), and the dominoes continue to fall.

The latest person to go down is Andrew Kreisberg, the co-creator and executive producer of The CW superhero shows The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, and Supergirl, who as of today has officially been fired by the Warner Bros. Television Group because of sexual harassment allegations.

Meanwhile, more details have surfaced about the conduct of Pixar guru John Lasseter in the wake of him taking a leave of absence from the animation studio last week due to his own sexual harassment issues, which he referred to as “missteps.”
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rashida jones toy story 4

In the fallout from John Lasseter‘s announcement that he is stepping down from Pixar amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Rashida Jones has clarified the reason for her departure from the writing team of Toy Story 4.

The Hollywood Reporter article that initially revealed the allegations of Lasseter’s alleged sexual harassment of female employees claimed that the reason that Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack, left the project early in development because Lasseter made an “unwanted advance” towards her. Shortly after the article was published, Jones explained to a New York Times reporter that this was not the case.

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john lasseter

John Lasseter, current Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, has announced a sudden leave of absence following “missteps.” In a new statement, the Toy Story director acknowledged “difficult conversations” and acknowledged possibly crossing lines and making people uncomfortable. Lasseter’s leave of absence news was soon followed by allegations of sexual misconduct involving the filmmaker. More details about the John Lasseter sexual harassment allegations are below.

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