More reports of improper behaviour on the part of Pixar co-founder John Lasseter are beginning to emerge, after he took a leave of absence from the animation studio last week.
It’s also being called into question how much Disney knew about his reputation among employees.
Speaking anonymously to Deadline, one former female executive from Pixar said: “He’s very tactile in a weird way.
“He would rub my leg in a meeting… It was creepy and weird. It got to the point where I wouldn’t sit next to him in a meeting, because it undermined everything I said.”
It’s also claimed that he would be accompanied by a handler when he attended movie wrap parties, in order to ensure that he behaved himself, according to two other sources.
In a statement last week, Lasseter apologised to anyone who had been ‘on the receiving end of an unwanted hug’ or other times that they felt he’d ‘crossed the line’.
He categorised his actions as ‘missteps’.
However, other sources say that he was witnessed ‘passionately kissing’ another subordinate at an Oscar night party thrown by Miramax in 2010, which, it’s said, prompted ‘high-level discussions’ among Disney and Pixar execs.
In another incident, Lasseter is said to have become infatuated with the young actresses who played Disney’s Fairies, the franchise which spun-off from Disney’s Tinker Bell movies.
According to reports, Lasseter insisted they be flown to New York to attend an event, with the animator taking them out drinking one evening, and to a party the next night.
One former executive at Pixar said that an employee had to be despatched to chaperone him.
“He was inappropriate with the fairies,” the executive said, referring to his physical contact with them. “We had to have someone make sure he wasn’t alone with them.”
Another incident detailed by Deadline alleges that he groped a female executive from the company after an annual toy fair in New York.
According to one person there at the time, though she laughed off his advances, saying her job description didn’t include ‘being groped by John Lasseter’, you could ‘tell she was pi**ed’.
Disney and Pixar have declined to comment about the latest allegations.
Lasster, who has been behind the scenes on nearly all the Pixar output from Toy Story to The Incredibles, is currently on a six-month sabbatical from the animation studio.