AceShowbiz - Earlier, it was reported that "Toy Story 4" writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack left the project following John Lasseter's sexual misconduct. However, the writers recently denied the claim and said that their departure was caused by some differences and Pixar's general treatment to female and minority employees.
"We feel like we have been put in a position where we need to speak for ourselves. The break neck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible and, in fact, counterproductive for the people who do want to tell their stories," said the duo in a statement. "In this instance, The Hollywood Reporter does not speak for us. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences," the statement continued.
The writers stated that Pixar had a tendency to not include women and people of color in their creative projects. They said, "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, as is demonstrated by their director demographics: out of the 20 films in the company's history, only one was co-directed by a woman and only one was directed by a person of color."
Originally, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Jones left Pixar because of an unwanted advance from Lasseter, although the writers did not respond to requests for comment. Disney declined to comment as well, but a studio source did say that the departure was over "creative differences." Pixar insiders said that Lasseter made some advances toward his workers such as "grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes."
Meanwhile, Lasseter is now leaving his position as the head of Pixar and Walt Disney animation after issuing an apology in a memo. He said, "I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form."
A Disney spokesperson told PEOPLE that the company supported his decision. Their statement read, "We are committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are respected and empowered to do their best work. We appreciate John's candor and sincere apology and fully support his sabbatical."
Jones and McCormack hope that Pixar will be a better animation company in the future which welcomes diversity. "We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered," said the duo in their concluding statement.