John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation, is leaving his role at the end of the year in wake of misconduct allegations.
“John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger in a statement Friday.
“We are profoundly grateful for his contribution, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios. One of John’s greatest achievements is assembling a team of great storytellers and innovators with the vision and talent to set the standard in animation for generations to come.”
The outgoing executive, who previously admitted to making “missteps,” issued a statement of his own.
“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career, and personal priorities,” Lasseter said. “While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges.
“I am extremely proud of what two of the most important and prolific animation studios have achieved under my leadership and I’m grateful for all the opportunities to follow my creative passion at Disney.”
Deadline reported on multiple allegations against Lasseter in November:
At the animator’s insistence, Disney flew the women to a New York event. One Pixar employee became the designated escort as Lasseter took the young women out drinking one night, and to a party the following evening.
“He was inappropriate with the fairies,” said the former Pixar executive, referring to physical contact that included long hugs. “We had to have someone make sure he wasn’t alone with them.”
Another incident involved Lasseter pulling a “female executive tightly to him and move his hands over her body.” Witnesses claim the woman was “pissed” and said “being groped by John Lasseter” was not in her job description.
The 61-year-old helped launch Pixar, the wildly successful CGI animation company responsible for blockbuster films such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc.
Disney directors Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter will assume expanded roles at the animation studio following Lasseter’s departure.