Rashida Jones and writing partner Will McCormack are setting the record straight regarding the reason they left screenwriting duties on “Toy Story 4.” In a story published by The Hollywood Reporter on November 21, Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter was accused of misconduct by insiders at the company and Disney. One source told THR that Jones left “Toy Story 4” after Lasseter made an “unwanted advance.”
Jones and McCormack have refuted the allegation in a statement made to Entertainment Weekly. The writing duo, whose previous credits include “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” deny unwanted advances were ever made toward Jones, and instead they cite the unequal treatment of minority voices within Pixar as the reason they removed themselves from “Toy Story 4.”
“The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible,” Jones and McCormack’s statement reads. “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 color do not have an equal creative voice.”
Pixar has been behind 20 feature films, but only one has been co-directed by a woman and only one has been directed by a person of color. Jones and McCormack 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,” the writers concluded.
“Toy Story 4” was announced on November 6, 2014, with Jones and McCormack handling the script and Lasseter directing. In the wake of the misconduct allegations, Lasseter has temporarily stepped down from his role as Chief Creative Officer at Pixar.