After Pixar CCO John Lasseter announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from his post at Disney due to “missteps” he made, it was reported that Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack stepped down as writers of Toy Story 4 after Lasseter made an “unwanted advance” towards Jones. The two responded to the report saying that this was untrue.
Jones and McCormack signed on to pen the fourth installment of the popular Pixar franchise, but have since exited. In a statement to The New York Times, the writing duo set the record straight on why they departed the project. “The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible,” they said in regards to the Hollywood Reporter article. “We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.”
The statement goes on to address the aforementioned 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. We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.”
In addition to being Pixar CCO, Lasseter is also the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering. He announced his six-month sabbatical earlier today in memo to staffers which admitted to “missteps” included apologies “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.”