Pixar co-founder and Walt Disney Animation chief John Lasseter is taking a six-month leave of absence citing "missteps" with employees.
In a vaguely-worded memo obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday, Lasseter says he knows he has made some employees feel disrespected and uncomfortable. He apologized to anyone who has received an unwanted hug or gesture and to those he has "let down. The Hollywood Reporter posted Tuesday that a longtime Pixar employee claimed that Lasseter had a reputation for "grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes."
According to the Reporter, although Rashida Jones and Will McCormack have writing credits on "Toy Story 4," they departed the project early after Lasseter allegedly made an unwanted advance on Jones.
A Disney spokesperson says the company is committed to maintaining a respectful work environment and fully supports Lasseter's sabbatical.
Lasseter is known for directing films like "Toy Story" and "Cars" and has produced every Pixar feature since "Monster's, Inc." He has been the chief creative officer for Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2006, overseeing hits like "Frozen" and "Moana." He has won two Oscars, and Pixar films have grossed more than $6 billion at the domestic box office.
Pixar's "Coco" hits theaters Thanksgiving Day.