Pixar Takes On Toxic Work Cultures in Online Short
Pixar’s latest short isn’t exactly a #timesup tale, but the fingerprints of the movement against sexual harassment in the office are all over the film.
Purl, an eight minute short and the first Pixar has distributed directly online, takes aim at testosterone-laden cultures and the importance of workplace diversity. And it’s being warmly embraced online.
The cartoon tells the tale of a feminine ball of yarn named Purl as she starts a new job at finance company B.R.O. She’s immediately ostracized, ignored at meetings, intentionally left out of group activities, and mocked for her differences. She changes herself to fit in with the group, but learns that changing to fit the culture can have both positive and negative impacts.
Purl is the first film from Pixar’s Sparkshorts program, which gives filmmakers the opportunity to make low-budget shorts on budgets. The goal is to find budding talent. And, from the looks of things, writer/director Kristen Lester could have a future with the company.
For one thing, Purl doesn’t follow the Pixar formula. It’s raunchy (well, by Pixar standards at least), features the word “ass,” and isn’t afraid to confront current affair issues in a direct manner.
It’s also quickly winning over fans.
Purl, of course, comes on the heels of a scandal involving Pixar founder John Lasseter, who left Disney following allegations of sexual misconduct. 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 last June announced he would not return.
He has since signed on as head of the animation division at Skydance Media.