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Time’s Up, Women in Film Slam Skydance for Hiring John Lasseter: It ‘Endorses and Perpetuates a Broken System’

Top watchdogs for women’s issues in Hollywood have issued scathing responses to Skydance Media’s naming of John Lasseter to the company’s top animation job. Lasseter’s new job comes months after he was ousted from Pixar in the wake of sexual harassment scandals.

Time’s Up, the activist group founded in response industry gender disparity and the abuse exposed by the accusers of Harvey Weinstein, said Lasseter’s deal “endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence.”

Women in Film, a longtime advocacy group, said the disgraced Pixar leader and top Walt Disney Company executive’s “inappropriate touching and kissing has been reported by a number of women – from colleagues to subordinates,” and questioned Skydance CEO David Ellison’s pledge to keep his employees safe by hiring outside investigators and speaking with Lasseter at length about his past.

“For women in this industry to feel safe, we need more transparency than the above statement and we need to know what the company plans to do to ensure that safety. By saying Skydance has conducted an independent investigation and then proceed to hire Lasseter, do they mean to suggest that they are hiring him in spite of the numerous accounts of women and colleagues? We do think that people can learn and change, and we look forward to men who model this, but true reparation requires transparency.,” WIF President Amy Baer and Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer said in a joint statement.

The news comes after Lasseter has been trying, and largely failing, to drum up interest from studios in recent months, having met with Warner Bros. and other players. Many major studios and technology companies were wary of partnering with Lasseter because he was ousted from Pixar in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.

Read the full statements:

Time’s Up

Skydance Media’s decision to hire John Lasseter as head of animation endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence. At a moment when we should be uplifting the many talented voices who are consistently underrepresented, Skydance Media is providing another position of power, prominence and privilege to a man who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace,” the group said in a statement.

People often ask when a man who has abused his power “gets” to “come back.” There is no simple answer. But here are a few first steps:

1) Demonstrate true remorse.

2) Work deeply to reform your behavior.

3) Deliver restitution to those you harmed.

That’s the bare minimum.

Hiring decisions have consequences. And offering a high-profile position to an abuser who has yet to do any of those things is condoning abuse.”

Women in Film 

“Lasseter’s innappropriate touching and kissing has been reported by a number of women – from colleagues to subordinates. In the statement from Skydance, David Ellison says, ‘Lasseter has been forthright in taking ownership of his behavior, apologized for his actions and has spent the past year on sabbatical analyzing and improving his workplace behavior.’ He also says that Skydance had ’employed outside counsel to investigate the allegations.’

What does this mean? For women in this industry to feel safe, we need more transparency than the above statement and we need to know what the company plans to do to ensure that safety. By saying Skydance has conducted an independent investigation and then proceeded to hire Lasseter, do they mean to suggest that they are hiring him in spite of the numerous accounts of women and colleagues? We do think that people can learn and change, and we look forward to men who model this, but true reparation requires transparency.”

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