John Lasseter is out, and this time for good. Last November, the award-winning Disney animator, Pixar co-founder, director and executive producer, and now he’s officially leaving the company at the end of the year.
Lasseter is staying on as a consultant through Dec. 31, and it sounds like he might have other plans after that: “I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges,” he said in a statement.
It’s worth noting that “taking a leave of absence,” “staying on as a consultant” and “focusing on new creative challenges” are all time-honored euphemisms used when an company executive gets canned. However, it sounds like Disney is positioning this as an amicable arrangement, as you’ll see in the full statement below.
In the wake of the, where claims of sexual assault and misconduct are being taken more seriously than ever, it might be more surprising if Lasseter returned to Disney than if he left.
Here are the full statements from Disney and Lasseter:
STATEMENT FROM THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
Following his sabbatical, John Lasseter will assume a consulting role at The Walt Disney Company until December 31, 2018, at which time he will be leaving the company.
“John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios. One of John’s greatest achievements is assembling a team of great storytellers and innovators with the vision and talent to set the standard in animation for generations to come.”
“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities,” said John Lasseter. “While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges. I am extremely proud of what two of the most important and prolific animation studios have achieved under my leadership and I’m grateful for all of the opportunities to follow my creative passion at Disney.”
Original story published Jun 8 at 4:04 p.m. PT
Update, 8:12 p.m. PT: To clarify that Lasseter wasn’t necessarily accused of sexual harassment specifically. You can read the allegations, however, in this story by The Hollywood Reporter.