Rashida Jones did exit Toy Story 4 early on in the project’s development, but it wasn’t because she was creeped out by Pixar co-founder John Lasseter.
The Angie Tribeca star and her writing partner Will McCormack issued a joint statement on the nature of their departure from the animated film following Lasseter’s announcement that he will be stepping down from his position as head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation.
After the animator’s memo to staff went public, multiple allegations surfaced detailing years of Lasseter making his employees uncomfortable with unwanted hugs and inappropriate touching.
One source even claimed that Jones and McCormack left Toy Story 4 early on after Lasseter made an “unwanted advance” toward her.
The writing duo clarified the rumors on Tuesday, admitting it wasn’t Lasseter that made them exit the project, but Pixar’s general treatment of female and minority employees.
In a joint statement to The New York Times, they wrote:
“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.”
Huh. So Disney reps were actually being honest when they said Jones left due to “creative differences.” What wasn’t mentioned, however, was how this departure points to a larger diversity problem.
The statement continued:
“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.
We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.”
We’re glad Jones and McCormack explained exactly why they left the project amid the allegations coming out against Lasseter. If women had an equal creative voice at the company, maybe they wouldn’t have had to put up with creepy hugs from their boss over the past couple decades.
Either way, it’s good to see light being shed on the dark nooks and crannies of the industry.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]