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Pixar & Disney chief takes ‘leave of absence’ over harassment claims

Pixar & Disney chief takes ‘leave of absence’ over harassment claims
Walt Disney Animation and Pixar chief John Lasseter has reportedly taken a six-month leave of absence following reports of sexual misconduct towards employees at the company.

In a memo announcing his temporary departure to company employees, Lasseter alluded to the allegations. The statement, which has been seen by Reuters, reads: I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them.”

“As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be. It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent.”

The 60-year-old’s statement comes at the same time an investigation by the Hollywood Reporter claimed he dished out unwanted hugs and kisses to female employees and was known to grope women at the company over a number of years.

The Hollywood Reporter also claimed he made “unwanted advances” toward actress and writer Rashida Jones, who had been working on the script for the fourth installment of the ‘Toy Story’ franchise.

Lasseter is the recipient of two Oscars for animation and is known for directing the animated films ‘Toy Story,’ ‘A Bug’s Life’ and ‘Cars.’ He has also produced all of Pixar’s movies since ‘Monster’s Inc’ in 2001. He has been the chief creative officer for Pixar and Walt Disney Animation since the latter’s takeover of Pixar in 2006, overseeing Disney’s recent box office successes such as ‘Frozen’ and ‘Zootopia.’

Lasseter’s apparent downfall is just the latest in a string of sexual misconduct allegations in recent days. Longtime TV news host Charlie Rose was fired by CBS Tuesday, following allegations of sexual misconduct by eight different women in a Washington Post report Monday. Jeffrey Tambor, star of the Amazon show ‘Transparent,’ also stepped down from the show over reports of inappropriate behaviour.Tambor denied the claims. Rose, meanwhile, said in a statement, that he did not believe all the allegations against him are “accurate.”