After accusations of repeated misconduct last fall and admission of “missteps” that led to a six-month sabbatical, John Lasseter will now be exiting Pixar and the Walt Disney Company at the end of the year.
With a glowing quote from CEO Bob Iger, the House of Mouse today went for the old politicians trick of dumping bad news on a Friday afternoon and announced that the once animation overlord will be taking a consultant position with the company until then – so exiled but not entirely banished.
Heres Disney full statement:
Following his sabbatical, John Lasseter will assume a consulting role at The Walt Disney Company until December 31, 2018, at which time he will be leaving the company.
“John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company/ “We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios. One of Johns 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 last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities,” said John Lasseter. “While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges. I am extremely proud of what two of the most important and prolific animation studios have achieved under my leadership and Im grateful for all of the opportunities to follow my creative passion at Disney.”
Though more than a little bit responsible for the $6 billion that Pixar has made at the Stateside box office, Lasseter seemed to be following other passions at Disney as well during his more than a decade long tenure as animation chief creative officer. That is what saw him moved to the shadows in November as a spotlight was put on issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood.
The usually chummy and Hawaiian shirt wearing casual, Lasseter admitted late last year to giving “unwanted hugs” and hinted at behavior that others “felt crossed the line.” Interviews revealed uninvited kisses and touching and amorous displays at studio parties where alcohol was served.
Needless to say, not the image Iger or Disney execs wanted – even if it was from one of their biggest moneymakers and top managers. Now having it both ways, Disney can say that they didnt want him back as that sabbatical approached its end but still get the benefit of his wide ranging talents for another six months in a lesser but still Lasseter level capacity.