Freddie Mercury must be cashing big royalty checks in Heaven right now, because every morning millions start humming “Another One Bites The Dust” as soon as we look at the news. Pixar’s chief creative officer John Lasseter announced yesterday that he was taking a 6-month leave of absence from Disney and Pixar in response to allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior (or “unwanted hugs,” as he claimed).
The Hollywood Reporter was quick to report that John had a long history of not-right touching and making comments about people’s appearance. They also reported that Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack quit their gig writing Toy Story 4 because John had made unwanted advances towards Rashida. In an effort to set the record straight, Rashida and Will have a fun good news/bad news scenario for you.
Rashida and Will released a statement clarifying the situation (via The New York Times). According to Rashida and Will, the good news is:
“The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.”
I’m so happy to hear Rashida didn’t have to suffer through (or constantly rebuff) long, deep hugs from a corpulent man in a wacky shirt and a twinkle in his eye. I know I just sort-of described beardless Hawaiian Santa, but the revulsion stands. And here’s the bad news:
“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.”
The Times reports that of the 19 Pixar feature films, only one of them (Brave) was directed by a woman. Brenda Chapman, said woman, was fired halfway through the film after clashing with Lasseter. Great, Pixar is not only tainted by having a handsy off-season Santa at its helm. But now we know the company culture may also be so steeped in misogyny and racism that we’re going to be giving side-eye to every Pixar movie we watch now. And we wonder why we can’t have nice things!
Rashida and Will concluded their statement by urging Pixar to lead the charge in “hiring and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders.” So, yeah, if the whole industry could go ahead and do that now, maybe we can watch Cars 27 with our grandchildren without second guessing every fender bender and oil change.