Disney mulls allowing Pixar co-founder John Lasseter to return after unwelcome hugging accusations

“Executives at Walt Disney Co. have discussed bringing animation guru John Lasseter back to the company in a new role that would reduce his managerial power but allow him to retain creative influence, according to a person familiar with the matter,” Erich Schwartzel and Ben Fritz report for The Wall Street Journal. “Those discussions come as the end of Mr. Lasseter’s six-month leave, taken following accusations of unwelcome hugging and other touching, approaches on May 21. So far, Disney has given no indication whether or not Mr. Lasseter will return. It is also possible that Monday will pass with no decision.”

“The entertainment giant faces a tricky situation in deciding what to do about Mr. Lasseter, a predicament facing many companies in the #MeToo era as they deal with executives whose infractions they didn’t consider severe enough to warrant termination,” Schwartzel and Fritz report. “In Mr. Lasseter’s case, Disney executives led by Chief Executive Robert Iger are deciding the fate of a man long considered one of Hollywood’s most bankable and well-known creative geniuses.”

“Some current and former Pixar employees have told media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, that Mr. Lasseter regularly hugged or otherwise touched them without consent,” Schwartzel and Fritz report. “Some employees said that Mr. Lasseter’s behavior didn’t bother them.”

“In considering a redefined role for Mr. Lasseter, Disney leadership appears to be attempting to maintain the benefit of his creative input without the liabilities that could come from his being in charge of thousands of employees, as he previously was,” Schwartzel and Fritz report. “Day-to-day management duties, including hiring or firing capabilities, would be removed or contained in the scenario being considered, the person familiar with the matter said. Reining in Mr. Lasseter’s managerial oversight could be complicated, however, as his power came less from his official title than his unofficial position as Disney’s most-valued creative employee, people who worked with him said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, yeah, wasn’t letting him return eventually the plan with Lasseter all along?

Disney without Lasseter would be like Disney without Lasseter, a fate Disney would certainly like to avoid.

Disney Animation head John Lasseter taking leave of absence from Pixar amid ‘missteps’ – November 22, 2017
The single greatest piece of advice Steve Jobs gave ‘Frozen’ executive producer John Lasseter – December 5, 2013
Pixar founder John Lasseter accepts Steve Jobs’ Disney Legends Award in emotional speech (with video) – August 11, 2013
John Lasseter receives star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, honors Steve Jobs – November 2, 2011
Pixar names main studio building after Steve Jobs – November 7, 2012
Report: Steve Jobs signed off on Pixar deal with backdated options for Lasseter – February 10, 2007
Disney completes Pixar acquisition; Steve Jobs now Disney’s single largest shareholder – May 5, 2006
It’s official: Disney acquires Pixar for $7.4 billion, Steve Jobs joins Disney Board of Directors – January 24, 2006


    1. Yeah, honestly, even my wife is like this stuff is about to backfire and implode. I’ve honestly had more women offer up hugs, etc. in my years at the office than I’ve seen guys doing it. There were a couple guys who didn’t know when to let go and that even made me uneasy.
      The bandwagon has made work life a mess for the foreseeable future…

  1. Maybe the Japanese figured this out centuries ago and that’s why they just bow….

    Y’know Hug the wrong samurai and….


    (actually thinking about it as I travel to Asia a bit, Asians seem to hug strangers more than years ago.. probably Western TV influence)

  2. I’ve had European women hug me and kiss me on both cheeks as if it were the most natural way to greet someone. I (definite XY) always felt it was too personal and a bit creepy but never said anything as they acted as this was proper, expected way to greet someone.

    Maybe the pendulum has too far to overpunishing really petty things as sexual harassment instead of just telling people to let others know if they think things like hugs are unpleasant. Even if it is your boss, people can offer gentle but appropriate feedback. If the person involved keeps doing after they have been asked to stop, that is harassment in my estimation. If the person receiving a hug or touch chooses not to speak up, who really has the problem? Huggers and touchers need education and feedback. If they don’t quit, they need punishment.

    1. Good points there, some cultures are very touchy and feeling others not, it’s often a question of perspective. I also notice through my travels and experiences with other cultures that the interpretation of looking someone in the eyes can be just as awkward. Some see as making eye contact a sign of respect, others of disrespect.

      One thing that is fairly consistent though regardless of culture or nationality is handedness. From my understanding pretty well 100% of the human species is right handed.

  3. There is a big difference between one hugging someone and molesting them or demanding transactional sex. All someone needs to do is say- no thanks and any decent person would get the message.

    In all of this #metoo stuff, I am sure that there are many legitimate cases, but wonder if a little score settling is going on. In today’s environment an accusation is as good as a conviction in corporate America. Someone who might have been passed,over or dumped or whatever can just say #metoo and the scarlet letter is applied.

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