We hear it ran an hour and half and was very emotional, with a red-faced Lasseter expressing to the 65-person team how he’s ready to turn a corner in treating women properly and creating a safe environment at his new employment. One insider tells Deadline that when Lasseter spoke, “You could hear a pin drop” in the room.
Forgoing his standard Hawaiian shirt in exchange for a green-colored top, Lasseter launched into a full apology expressing how deeply sorry and ashamed he was for his prior actions, which he admitted were unquestionably wrong. The former Pixar/Walt Disney Animation boss spoke with deep regret about making women feel unsafe and disrespected. Given obligations as a leader, he reportedly admitted he should have been more cognizant about the impact of his physical persona and presence.
Younger female employees grilled Lasseter whether he fully atoned for his mistakes, which led Disney putting him on a a six-month leave of absence last year before he eventually left the company. Lasseter promised the town hall crowd that he will work every day of his life to win back the trust around him.
He also promised to continue to tell women’s stories on screen, as well as those that speak to the #MeToo environment. He pointed to his work on Moana, Zootopia and The Princess and the Frog, and that he’ll certainly expand opportunities for women behind the camera. Lasseter mentioned that he continues to work with a coach and a therapist in regards to unconscious bias training, work he began during the tail end of his Disney tenure.
Lasseter’s Disney exit was prompted by accusations of unwanted physical contact with female subordinates — from the “hugs” he acknowledged in a statement of contrition last fall to accounts of unsolicited kisses and groping that sources confided to Deadline. Disney placed Lasseter on sabbatical in November 2017 after he admitting to vague “missteps”; he officially left the company at the end of 2018.
In regards to the two Skydance Animation projects that are in the pipeline that Lasseter takes over — Luck and an untitled fantasy project — he said today those will continue to be shepherded. He asked for collaboration from this new team on them.
Prior to Lasseter speaking, attorneys from Venable, William Briggs and Caroline Murray, presented findings of a Skydance investigation into Lasseter’s past conduct, in the spirit of transparency to those who gathered. They re-emphasized Lasseter had no prior claims of sexual assault filed against him, and no claims of sexual propositioning or harassment filed against him. In addition, there were no findings of secret settlements by Disney or Lasseter to any parties asking for a settlement.
One executive who use to work with Lasseter who was in the room, remarked that “He’s a changed John…but it’s up to him now.”