LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The Walt Disney Co. on Friday announced that it was ending its longtime relationship with John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios following allegations that he engaged in inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
A statement released by Disney on Friday said Lasseter would assume a consulting role at the studio until the end of the year when he would exit 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 Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger, in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios.”
“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities,” added John Lasseter in the statement. “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 I’m grateful for all of the opportunities to follow my creative passion at Disney.”
Lasseter has been on leave from the studio since November when the Hollywood Reporter published allegations from multiple Pixar employees who alleged improper workplace conduct that included “grabbing, kissing, making comments about the physical characteristics” of staff at the studio.
His exit appears to be abrupt turnaround since last month when the Wall Street Journal reported that Disney execs were considering allowing Lasseter to return in a creative role at the company, albeit one with less power, including hiring and firing staff.
Lasseter has been with Pixar since 1984 and played a key role in the studio’s rise to prominence. Under Lasseter, Pixar has produced a fistful of smash hit animated features including “Wall-E,” “Toy Story,” and “Coco.”
Lasseter has won two Academy Awards — one for Best Animated Short Film (“Tin Toy”) and one Special Achievement Award for “Toy Story.” Over the course of Lasseter’s tenure, Pixar has generated more than $6bn in box office receipts.
Lasseter also assumed a creative leadership role at Disney’s animation studios, which produced hits such as “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” In addition, he oversaw the launch of creative projects at other Disney properties, including the debut of theme park attractions such as “Cars Land” at Disney California Adventure theme park.