John Lasseter is on a leave of absence from Disney and Pixar over "unwanted hugs" and other alleged misconduct—but screenwriter Rashida Jones says his behavior was not the reason for her departure from Toy Story 4. In a statement seen by Entertainment Weekly, Jones and writing partner Will McCormack deny reports that she quit after unwanted advances from Lasseter, who is Disney and Pixar's chief creative officer. "The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible," they said. "We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences."
Pixar has a "culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice," they write, stressing that they are still fans of the movies and urging the company "to be leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders." They note that only one of Pixar's 20 films was directed by a woman, and one by a person of color. Former Pixar employees tell Variety that the studio was a "boys' club" with a "sexist and misogynistic" culture. They say that for 20 years, Lasseter's behavior, including walking up to women in the office and kissing them on the mouth, was tolerated. Female former employees say that when they started, the "whisper network" advised them to keep their distance from the company co-founder. (Read more Rashida Jones stories.)