Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack have released a statement condemning Pixar for their treatment of women and people of colour.
Jones announced on Tuesday that herself and McCormack would be stepping down from the writing team on Toy Story 4.
Her exit comes after the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, John Lasseter, announced that he was leaving for a “sabbatical” due to unspecified “missteps.”
An article by The Hollywood Reporter, detailing Lasseter’s ‘missteps’, cited that as the reason for Jones’ exit from the project, but Jones and McCormack released a joint statement to the New York Times explaining why they left.
Jones and McCormack wrote: “The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible,” they said. “We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue.
We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.”
They added, “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 color do not have an equal creative voice.”
According to a report from Vanity Fair, Lasseter allegedly had a long history of making female employees feel uncomfortable with kisses on the mouth, inappropriate hugging and misconduct.
His behavior was apparently largely excused due to his massive creative output — Lasseter is responsible for Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Cars; and has credits on dozens of major films including Finding Nemo and Frozen.
Lasseter said he would be taking a six-month leave of absence to “start taking better care of myself”.
Disney, in a statement quoted by Reuters news agency, said they appreciated Lasseter’s “candor and sincere apology” and supported his decision to take a leave of absence.