John Lasseter, the Pixar co-founder who quit the company following numerous allegtions of sexually inappropriate behaviour, was grilled by employees at his new company, according to reports.
Lasseter attended what was later described as a ‘heavy’ town hall meeting at Skydance Animation’s Los Angeles headquarters, following intense scrutiny after his appointment as head of the studio’s animation arm was announced last week.
Variety reports that Lasseter received ‘blunt questions, many of them from younger female employees on the team, about how he will behave in his new role’.
The report goes on to say that Lasseter, the director of movies like Toy Story and Cars, ‘admitted to wrongdoing, committing himself to proving he had reformed’.
The company’s CEO David Ellison was also said to have been the subject of ‘several pointed questions’ from staff.
Lasseter took an extended sabbatical from Pixar last year, after several complaints of inappropriate touching and treatment of female employees emerged, along with instances of drunken behaviour at company events and premieres.
The animator and producer later admitted to having made ‘missteps’.
“I especially want to apologise to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape or form,” he said at the time.
“No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”
Following his appearance at Skydance HQ, the chief of Paramount Animation, which has worked closely with Skydance on recent projects, and has four upcoming, has said that its staff, which is largely female, does not have to work with Lasseter.
Mirielle Soria also had a town hall event with her employees, with Variety reporting that ‘Soria told her staff that if Lasseter requested input, they are free to decline participation’.
Neither company has commented on the meetings.
Last week, Ellison said in a leaked memo to staff that the decision to employee Lasseter had ‘not been entered into lightly’.
“While we would never minimise anyone’s subjective views on behaviour, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognised,” he said.
But the decision was quickly condemned.
A statement from the Time’s Up campaign said: “Skydance Media’s decision to hire John Lasseter as head of animation endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence.”