John Lasseter takes leave from Pixar, apologizes for 'missteps'

By Karen Butler and Daniel Uria  |  Updated Nov. 21, 2017 at 6:06 PM
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Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Disney Animation head John Lasseter announced Tuesday he's taking a leave of absence from Pixar for unspecified "missteps" that may have included "unwanted" hugs or other gestures.

Lasseter, one of the founders of Pixar, sent a memo to employees announcing his plans to take a "six-month sabbatical" following "difficult conversations" regarding his conduct as a leader of the company, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"In my conversations with Disney, we are united in our commitment to always treat any concerns you have with the seriousness they deserve, and to address them in an appropriate manner. We also share a desire to reinforce the vibrant, respectful culture that has been the foundation of our studios' success since the beginning. And we agree the first step in that direction is for me to take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here," Lasseter wrote.

In the memo he apologized to recipients of any "unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form."

The Hollywood Reporter said actor Rashida Jones and writing partner Will McCormack left as writers on Pixar's upcoming Toy Story 4 because of unwanted advances made by Lasseter.

"It's been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent," Lasseter' said.

"No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected," he continued.

Lasseter added he hopes the sabbatical will provide him the opportunity to "start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve."

Also Tuesday, CBS News fired veteran broadcast journalist Charlie Rose.

The move came a day after The Washington Post reported eight women alleged Rose behaved sexually inappropriately toward them between the late 1990s and 2011.

The accusers -- who were former employees or people who sought jobs from Rose -- told the newspaper he groped them, made lewd phone calls to them and walked around nude in front of them.

Rose, 75, has been a co-anchor on CBS This Morning since 2012. He also occasionally filled in as anchor of CBS Evening News.

Rose issued a statement to the Post saying he has advocated the careers of women during his 45 years in journalism.

"Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues. It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken," he said. "I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will, too. All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives."

After initially suspending Rose Monday, CBS News President David Rhodes announced Tuesday that Rose had been permanently taken off the air.

"Despite Charlie's important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace-a supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work. We need to be such a place," Rhodes said in a statement on the CBS News website. "I've often heard that things used to be different. And no one may be able to correct the past. But what may once have been accepted should not ever have been acceptable. CBS News has reported on extraordinary revelations at other media companies this year and last. Our credibility in that reporting requires credibility managing basic standards of behavior. That is why we have taken these actions."

 

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