Actress-writer Rashida Jones has denied quitting Toy Story 4 over unwanted advances from John Lasseter Pixar, co-founder and Walt Disney Animation chief.
Jones said in a statement to eonline.com that she and her long time writing partner Will McCormack exited the project, which they were signed on to co-write, because of issues pertaining to gender and race inequality at Pixar.
Jones said: “We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advance. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly philosophical differences. There is so much talent at Pixar and we remain enormous fans of their films.
“However, it is also a culture where women and people of colour do not have an equal creative voice, as demonstrated by their director demographics: out of the 20 films in the company’s history only one was co-created by a woman and only one was directed by a person of colour.”
Jones said that they encourage Pixar to be the “leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders”.
“We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.”
Pixar has issued a statement supporting Lasseter’s decision to take a six-month sabbatical in the wake of the allegations.
“I have always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers,” Lasseter said in an email obtained by eonline.com.
“This kind of creative culture takes constant vigilance to maintain. It’s built on trust and respect, and it becomes fragile if any members of the team don’t feel valued. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen; and I now believe I have been falling short in this regard.”
He continued: “I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them.”