John Lasseter, the former chief of Disney’s Pixar who left the company in June following allegations of sexual misconduct, has been tapped to head the animation division of Skydance Media.
Lasseter, 61, will start this month at Skydance’s relatively new animation department, which was formed in 2017. Skydance, which co-produces and co-finances films with Paramount Pictures, such as Mission Impossible – Fallout, Annihilation, and Star Trek Beyond, was founded in 2010.
“John is a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated,” David Ellison, Skydance’s CEO, said in a statement Wednesday. “And yet we did not enter into this decision lightly. John has acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes, and, during the past year away from the workplace, has endeavored to address and reform them.”
Lasseter in a statement said he spent the past year in “deep reflection, learning how my actions unintentionally made many colleagues uncomfortable, which I deeply regret and apologize for.”
In November 2017, the Hollywood Reporter published a piece citing Pixar employees who said Lasseter in the workplace was known for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.”
The allegations resulted in Lasseter taking a six month leave, before Disney in June announced he would be leaving the company by the end of the year.
Time’s Up, the organization founded by Hollywood celebrities dedicated to ending sexual harassment in the workplace, issued a critical statement following the announcement of Lasseter’s hiring at Skydance.
“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,” the statement reads. “At a moment when we should be uplifting the many talented voices who are consistently underrepresented, Skydance Media is providing another position of power, prominence and privilege to a man who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
In a memo to employees, Ellison said that “while we would never minimize anyone’s subjective views on behavior, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognized.
“We are certain that John has learned valuable lessons and is ready to prove his capabilities as a leader and a colleague,” Ellison added. “And he has given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner that is the expectation of every Skydance colleague and partner.”