Ex-Disney and Pixar CCO John Lasseter Hired by Skydance Animation and CEO David Ellison Explains Why
Former Disney and Pixar CCO John Lasseter has found a new job since being let go after being accused by several employees of inappropriate sexual misconduct.
Lasseter is said to have had "a reputation for touching women inappropriately in the office, including rubbing their legs and kissing them on the lips. Lasseter was also reprimanded for making out with a subordinate at an Oscar party in 2010."
Lasseter remained a consultant for the company until December 31st, 2018, but leading up that that date he was taking meetings with other companies around Hollywood.
According to Variety, Lasseter has officially been named head of Skydance Animation. As you might imagine, a lot of companies weren’t too keen on working with Lasseter because of the whole #MeToo movement. But, that didn’t stop Skydance from hiring him.
The report points out that if Lasseter is successful at Skydance, “he will be one of the first industry figures to mount a career come back in the #MeToo and Time’s Up era.”
When talking about hiring Lasseter in this position, Skydance Media CEO David Ellison released a memo to the Skydance staff praising Lasseter as an “industry visionary.” But most of the memo is spent defending his choice to hire him. You can read the entire memo below:
I wanted to share with you first some news that we are announcing today.
Industry visionary John Lasseter is joining us to lead Skydance Animation. John will be based in Los Angeles and will report directly to me.
Bill Damaschke will be transitioning from his current role, and we are hopeful he will choose to remain within the Skydance family.
The attached press release outlines the news more fully, but I wanted to share a few things that have informed our decision to bring John on board.
First, no one can dispute John’s legacy building Pixar and Walt Disney Animation into the leadership position they now enjoy. His creative vision and forward-looking approach to animation has transformed the entire industry. At his heart, John is a storyteller – with a unique ability to tell beautiful and emotionally-driven tales that resonate and inspire audiences around the globe.
Second, I know many of you are aware of John’s admitted mistakes in his prior role helming those studios. John has been forthright in taking ownership of his behavior, apologized for his actions and has spent the past year on sabbatical analyzing and improving his workplace behavior.
Third, we employed outside counsel to thoroughly investigate the allegations, which we considered serious and have warranted our full attention as we made this important decision. The senior leadership team and I have all carefully evaluated the findings of this extensive investigation.
Let me be clear: we have not entered into this decision lightly.
While we would never minimize anyone’s subjective views on behavior, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognized. We are certain that John has learned valuable lessons and is ready to prove his capabilities as a leader and a colleague. And he has given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner that is the expectation of every Skydance colleague and partner.
We are very hopeful and excited about what the coming years will bring, as John’s art transcends generations and cultures, while deeply resonating on a fundamental level with what makes us uniquely human.
The senior leadership team and I will be hosting a town hall for all Skydance Animation colleagues shortly to speak with you directly about this transition. Additional town halls at SDM and SDI will take place today and tomorrow.
Skydance Animation colleagues, please be on the lookout for a call-to-gather email. I look forward to speaking with you in person.
Well, John Lasseter has been given a second chance in Hollywood and his profession. Maybe he’ll keep his hands to himself this time around.
What are your thoughts on Lasseter being hired by Skydance Animation?