John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is taking a six-month leave of absence, citing unspecified “missteps,” a stunning reversal of fortune for a figure so influential in Hollywood he has often been compared to Walt Disney.
People close to the studio who requested anonymity to protect their relationships said several female employees had complained internally about their interactions with the executive.
In the letter, first reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Lasseter described his absence as a six-month sabbatical. He has served as chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2006.
Six former female employees described in interviews with the Los Angeles Times a boys’ club culture at Pixar where women were often degraded, insulted for their looks and sometimes paid less than their male counterparts. Some women said they left because of the way women were treated there.
A Disney spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on complaints made by women.