Pixar’s John Lasseter Was the Subject of a ‘Whisper Network’ for More Than Two Decades

Variety | 11/21/2017 | Gene Maddaus
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For more than 20 years, young women at Pixar Animation Studios have been warned about the behavior of John Lasseter, who just disclosed that he is taking a leave due to inappropriate conduct with women. The company’s co-founder is known as a hugger. Around Pixar’s Emeryville, Calif., offices, a hug from Lasseter is seen as a mark of approval.

But among female employees, there has long been widespread discomfort about Lasseter’s hugs and about the other ways he showers attention on young women. On Tuesday, that history caught up with him, as Lasseter became the latest prominent person to be accused of inappropriate behavior. This comes in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse and harassment scandal that brought down the movie mogul and has also tarnished other powerful men such as Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and Amazon’s Roy Price.

Memo - Pixar - Employees - Lasseter - Hugs

In a memo to Pixar employees, Lasseter apologized for unwanted hugs and said he would take a six-month leave.

For the last decade, Lasseter has served as Disney’s chief creative officer, overseeing operations at both Pixar and the Walt Disney Animation Studios. The position made him the most powerful person in the field and perhaps the most influential animator since Walt Disney.

Disney - Comment

Disney had no comment.

Few in animation are willing to cross him. “He is a beloved figure, so I’m scared to speak out,” said one of numerous former employees who spoke to Variety over the last several weeks, all of whom refused to be identified by name for fear of career repercussions. Many described the culture at Pixar as toxic for women. “It’s sexist and misogynistic,” said a former employee.

Female - Pixar - Employees - Whisper - Network

Many former female Pixar employees said there was a classic whisper network at the animation company, where young women were advised to keep their distance from the co-founder.

Another former employee told...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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