It has now been just over a week since Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios head John Lasseter announced that he was taking a leave of absence following revelations about his behavior, which he described as “missteps.” Now, both the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline are bringing new details about these alleged incidents to light. More specifically, both publications suggest that Disney knew Lasseter’s behavior posed a problem. In fact, one incident recounted says Lasseter was seen kissing a subordinate at 2010 Oscars party (incidentally, one hosted by Miramax — the Disney-owned studio formerly headed by Harvey Weinstein), leading to “high-level discussions” about his behavior.
As previously reported, Lasseter had been known to drink heavily at social events, with Deadline sources saying he ended up attending some wrap parties with handlers that would monitor his conduct. A former Pixar exec also told the site that Lasseter needed supervision when around the young actresses that were part of the Disney Fairies franchise, saying “He was inappropriate with the fairies… We had to have someone make sure he wasn’t alone with them.” Meanwhile, an apparent Disney insider told THR that the company “shielded and protected” Lasseter even as multiple colleagues had spoken with human resources.
As it stands, Lasseter is currently on a six-month sabbatical. In a statement to his colleagues, he wrote, “I’ve 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,” going on to say, “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.” At the time that temporary departure was announced, a Disney spokesperson said, “We are committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are respected and empowered to do their best work. We appreciate John’s candor and sincere apology and fully support his sabbatical.”