John Lasseter, the director of 'Toy Story', 'Cars', and 'A Bug's Life', is to leave Disney at the end of the year following a sexual harassment scandal inside the animation studio at Pixar.
The Oscar-winning director and animator is currently on a sabbatical from Disney in the wake of a series of allegations made against him. Disney CEO Bob Iger's statement makes no mention of these allegations, instead praising his work for the studio. "We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, 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 statement read.
Lasseter's tenure as Chief Creative Officer for Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios saw the likes of 'Toy Story', 'Inside Out', 'Frozen', 'The Incredibles' and many more surpass all commercial and critical expectations and established Pixar and Disney as the dominant name in animation across the world.
In his statement upon the breaking of the harassment scandal, Lasseter admitted that it was "never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them." Rashida Jones, who was due to script 'Toy Story 4' for the animation studio, left the production the day after Lasseter announced his sabbatical and prompted speculation that he had made advances towards her. Jones, however, denied this was the case and instead stated that Pixar has "a culture where women and people of colour do not have an equal creative voice."
Disney has made no further statements on Lasseter's exit, and his final credit will likely be 'The Incredibles 2', which arrives in Irish cinemas on July 13th.