Back in November, John Lasseter took a six-month leave of absence after alleged misconduct and admitted “missteps,” but it now appears as if his return may never take place. A memo, written by Lasseter, was given to the staff of Walt Disney Animation and Pixar to let them know he was sorry and how he would be gone for half a year. On Thursday, there will be a “Day of Listening” to help determine the fate of the Pixar executive.
When the alleged misconduct was brought forth back in November, it was a scandal that shocked many and surprised even more. It was believed that the ongoing investigation would continue for a while and that Lasseter would end up coming back in six months, but that may no longer be the case.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the staff of Disney Animation Studios will hold a “Day of Listening” in the company lot on Thursday. Professionals from human resources will also be present to discuss workplace concerns and other issues that the employees may have.
Sources with close ties to both Pixar Animation Studios and Disney Animation Studios believe that John Lasseter will not be back with the company at all.
— Yahoo Movies UK (@YahooMoviesUK) January 31, 2018
Disney has not commented on the situation as of yet, but insiders say that the “Day of Listening” is planned as something to engage with employees more often.
In the report from November, some stated that John Lasseter was known for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes” of employees in the company. It was also stated that the animation legend would drink heavily at company functions, but that wasn’t the only time he was said to be inappropriate.
The report from the Hollywood Reporter states that one insider believes the “Day of Listening” is more to gauge how employees feel about Lasseter’s possible return. There are many in the animation community who feel his return to Pixar and Disney is unlikely and that it would be a “stretch” to put him back in charge after the “revelations of his behavior.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 31, 2018
If Lasseter does not return after his sabbatical, there would be the issue of someone else being the head of Pixar and Disney Animation. Pete Docter, who has a long history with the companies, has been mentioned before, but nothing is confirmed as of this time.
There is also the possibility that Disney does not name just a single person to lead the departments. Docter could be partnered up with other rumored names such as Jennifer Lee (Frozen), Rich Moore and Byron Howard (Zootopia), and Andrew Stanton (Finding Dory, Wall-E).
As of Wednesday, John Lasseter is in the middle of his six-month leave of absence from Walt Disney Animation and Pixar, but it could end up extending much longer than that. The “Day of Listening” being held on Thursday could turn into a regular thing, but it is primarily going to focus on whether Lasseter should return to the company at all. If the inside sources know as much as they say, his comeback appears to be highly unlikely at this point.