News broke yesterday that Pixar head John Lasseter was taking a six-month 'leave of absence' from the company for what he described as 'missteps' amidst allegations of inappropriate conduct.
The animation studio's Chief Creative Officer apologised to people he had worked with “who had ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form", saying that he had "recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them."
Now, however, Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack have also announced their departure from 'Toy Story 4', which was being directed by Lasseter up until July, when he handed over the reins to Josh Cooley.
Some reports had linked the two developments but Jones has released a statement clarifying that she and McCormack had left the project due to “creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences", calling on Pixar to "be leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders" and denying that "unwanted advances" were a factor.
Their statement read: "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. 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 colour do not have an equal creative voice.”
Toy Story 4 is set for release in 2019 and the plotline sees Woody and Buzz following the trail of Bo Peep, the toy that was given away.