Among the wave of alleged sexual offenders whose behavior rose to the surface in fall 2017 was John Lasseter. It turned out the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar had a long history of misogynistic and toxic behavior toward his (mostly female) employees and by the following year, the company ousted him from his role under the guise of a resignation. His alleged behavior included a pattern of “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes,” and the Oscar-winning toon titan reportedly had minders assigned expressly to rein him in.
According to a recent piece in Vulture, life at the company has changed now in his absence. Disney has its newly launched streaming platform, Disney+, to celebrate, along with the upcoming, already well-received “Frozen 2.” (IndieWire’s review is here.)
Per the interview, Pixar president Jim Morris told Vulture that the studio was already prepping changes ahead of Lasseter’s exit, citing its key collaborators as an old guard that is fading away to make room for new talent — Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, and Brad Bird, to name a few, all of whom have helmed Pixar’s most iconic movies.
“Those guys are all middle-aged or older now and they’re not going to be the filmmakers ten years from now. They’re not going to necessarily be the ones that have their finger on the zeitgeist,” Morris told Vulture. “And we knew that. Animated films come from people of their time, if that makes any sense. Just as John was, and Andrew, Pete, and Lee were when they made their first films.”
Morris also said that Pixar and Disney are making adamant strides in welcoming more diversity into the fold. “We’ve been leaning into that pretty heavily over the last couple of years since John’s been gone — just looking at those different voices and trying to foster them and grow and figure out what’s next and how to make it work,” he said. “So I would say, yes, the company’s quite a bit different now. Pete’s been very supportive of letting filmmakers basically have the keys to the car. We will judge how they drive it but we won’t tell them how to drive it.”
Of Jennifer Lee, who became the first woman to direct a Disney animated feature with the original “Frozen,” Walt Disney Animation Studios president Clark Spencer said, “She’s done an amazing job at bringing a new point of view. … There are moments when it is important to have some new points of view come in. You have to evolve. When she came in, she brought her experience in filmmaking, her experience in storytelling because she has a background as a writer, right? And she brings a unique point of view being a woman and somebody who really believes deeply in the world of Disney animation. I see that as the next chapter.”
Read the full story at Vulture, right here.