John Lasseter is, without a doubt, a huge name in animation in storytelling. The man had a hand in the success of both Pixar and the current Renaissance of Disney Animation Studios, but things weren’t exactly perfect. On the heels of the Me Too movement, Lasseter faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment, which led to his sabbatical and eventual departure from Pixar and Disney.
Well, it doesn’t look like it took very long for him to find a new gig. According to a report from THR, he has taken up residence over at Skydance Animation as their new head. He is set to start in Los Angeles later this month.
“John is a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated,” said Ellison in making the announcement. “He was responsible for leading animation into the digital age, while telling incomparable stories that continue to inspire and entertain audiences around the globe.”
Of course, Skydance CEO David Ellison is very aware of the man’s past and said the following in a memo:
“John has acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes and, during the past year away from the workplace, has endeavored to address and reform them.”
In a statement, Lasseter said the following of his hiring:
“I’m grateful to David and the Skydance team and know that I have been entrusted with an enormous responsibility. It is a distinct privilege that I will relish. I have spent the last year away from the industry in deep reflection, learning how my actions unintentionally made colleagues uncomfortable, which I deeply regret and apologize for. It has been humbling, but I believe it will make me a better leader.”
“I want nothing more than the opportunity to return to my creative and entrepreneurial roots, to build and invent again. I join Skydance with the same enthusiasm that drove me to help build Pixar, with a firm desire to tell original and diverse stories for audiences everywhere. With what I have learned and how I have grown in the past year, I am resolute in my commitment to build an animation studio upon a foundation of quality, safety, trust and mutual respect.”
Time’s Up, the movement that speaks out against sexual harassment find Lasseter’s hiring to be a step back, saying:
“Skydance Media’s decision to hire John Lasseter as head of animation endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence. At a moment when we should be uplifting the many talented voices who are consistently underrepresented, Skydance Media is providing another position of power, prominence and privilege to a man who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
“People often ask when a man who has abused his power ‘gets’ to ‘come back.’ There is no simple answer. But here are a few first steps: 1) Demonstrate true remorse. 2) Work deeply to reform your behavior. 3) Deliver restitution to those you harmed. That’s the bare minimum. Hiring decisions have consequences. And offering a high-profile position to an abuser who has yet to do any of those things is condoning abuse.”
In regards to Skydance Animation itself, it is a relatively new studio formed in 2017. they currently have two films in production — one called by Luck from Kung Fu Panda 3 co-director Alessandro Carloni and an untitled action fantasy from Shrek director Vicky Jenson.
How do you feel about Lasseter getting hired so soon after his allegations? Let us know your thoughts down below!