John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, is apologizing for "missteps" in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
The Hollywood Reporter said Tuesday that Lasseter was infamous within Pixar for allegedly "grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes." The article also claimed Rashida Jones left the upcoming "Toy Story 4" movie due to "an unwanted advance" by Lasseter. She and her writing partner had been working on the film's screenplay.
The "Parks and Recreation" actress and Will McCormack later told The New York Times that report was untrue and asserted their exit was tied to their belief that Pixar doesn't give women and people of color "an equal creative voice."
In a statement, they said, "We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly philosophical differences. 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. We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders."
In the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations, Lasseter announced he would take a six-month sabbatical. He wrote in an internal memo: "It's been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent. ... I deeply apologize if I have let you down."
Lasseter was one of Pixar's founders and helped develop several major properties like "Toy Story" and "Cars." Most recently, he was the executive producer on Pixar's "Coco," which hit theaters Wednesday.
A Disney spokesperson said in a statement that the company appreciated Lasseter's "sincere apology" and is supporting his leave of absence.