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News Lasseter taking leave of absence

rael ramone

Well-Known Member
Good god. That was stomach-turning. Bravo to that brave lady. She's risking her career, no doubt about it, by stepping forward. Being a whistleblower makes you a pariah in the rotten halls of Hollywood, or in any bastion of power. How ironic that such "inclusive" people are hypocrites and liars in their actual dealings with people.

THIS. HAS. TO. STOP.

Public posturing isn't enough. Bear in mind that Robert Iger was WELL AWARE of this stuff but said and did nothing until it was exposed. Until there is a cleansing of the culture within Pixar, damned if I'll ever watch another Pixar film.
There are two standards here when it comes to the various types of corporate and/or public wrongdoing.

The question as to which one applies depends on the answer to this question:

Is what this individual did Iger Enabled?

If yes, you get a 'publicly announced mutually agreed timeout' followed by a 'publicly announced consulting transition' that's paired with a farewell statement...

If no, then you get what Roseanne and John Skipper got.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
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There are two standards here when it comes to the various types of corporate and/or public wrongdoing.

The question as to which one applies depends on the answer to this question:

Is what this individual did Iger Enabled?

If yes, you get a 'publicly announced mutually agreed timeout' followed by a 'publicly announced consulting transition' that's paired with a farewell statement...

If no, then you get what Roseanne and John Skipper got.
Well, if you, as Bob did, have knowledge of a settlement payment and John continues to work for the company, is that not enabling? Or Steve Jobs’ concern about Lasseter’s professional conduct at pre-buyout Pixar?

They knew for years this was a problem and they kept it quiet to keep making money off him.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Public posturing isn't enough. Bear in mind that Robert Iger was WELL AWARE of this stuff but said and did nothing until it was exposed. Until there is a cleansing of the culture within Pixar, damned if I'll ever watch another Pixar film.
Also bear in mind that Bob Iger has a direct report who is in charge of all HR issues for the entire Walt Disney Company.

Jayne Parker, Chief Human Resources Officer, Walt Disney Company has worked for Disney for 30 years. She reports only to Bob Iger, and every HR executive in the Company around the globe reports to her. She is based in Burbank, and would have known full well about Lassetter's sexist shenanigans, or at the very least his instances of public drunkenness at official corporate events. Anyone who watched the D23 Expo videos last summer know Lassetter was a public drunk, that's no surprise to us.

It's Jayne's job to make sure all HR policies are being followed, especially by top senior execs like Lassetter. She quite clearly failed here. If you are going to crucify Iger, you need to put his top HR exec on the same cross. Jayne Parker. Basically, she sucks at her job obviously.

All that said, I went and read the Variety article that was salaciously linked as the "first to speak". And I have to say I was underwhelmed. Too much of Ms. Smolcic's tale reads as a mediocre employee upset at her mediocre annual reviews and mediocre career advancement.

"When I received a perplexing performance review after finishing my fourth production, it felt I’d never be equally recognized as a valuable asset by the company. The lengthy negative column listed things like, “designs too many options; seems like she’s trying too hard; asks too many questions.”

Is it possible those criticisms on her performance review were valid?

And her examples of sexism and harassment in the workplace were very vague and underwhelming when taken at face value. Stuff like...

"But Lasseter didn’t need an intimate setting to make female employees uncomfortable. He would give me, and countless other women, lecherous up-and-down looks (or unwanted hugs and touches) almost every time we crossed his path on campus. These tactless encounters made it clear that we were sex objects to him. The entire Pixar workforce witnessed the sleazy spin that John brought to Pixar’s Halloween bash. If he found a woman attractive when she got on stage, he’d ask her to spin around while he made suggestive comments, turning the event into yet another lewd spectacle."

Okay. Taking her for her word, the "lecherous" looks is one thing. But Lassetter MC'ing the PG-13 rated company Halloween party where people dress up in costumes and parade around on stage? It sounds like Ms. Smolcic has absolutely no sense of humor, or ability to laugh at herself and her peers. Or at best, she simply couldn't come up with a good Halloween costume. What were the other ladies dressed up like? We'll never know, but it sounds like adults being adults and knowing how to take a joke. Whatever, as vague as these examples are we can only take Ms. Smolcic for her word, but quite frankly I was expecting more when I heard this article was going to be "Stomach Churning".

And again I say, did Ms. Smolcic ever report any of this to HR? If this truly drove her from her dream job, I would imagine she must have made at least a couple of official HR reports. Or at the very least on her last day fire off an email to Jayne Parker, whose only job it is to create a safe and equitable workplace at Pixar.
 
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SorcererMC

Well-Known Member
There are two standards here when it comes to the various types of corporate and/or public wrongdoing.

The question as to which one applies depends on the answer to this question:

Is what this individual did Iger Enabled?

If yes, you get a 'publicly announced mutually agreed timeout' followed by a 'publicly announced consulting transition' that's paired with a farewell statement...

If no, then you get what Roseanne and John Skipper got.
I disagree about the double standard. It's not unusual for execs to negotiate a consulting contract as part of a separation agreement, ie, even when they are fired. To me - JL had no leverage in this scenario, and Iger's public-facing comments were to avoid a wrongful termination suit (given what's known about JL's alcohol problem). California doesn't honor non-compete agreements, so I think JL had something akin to 'garden leave', then a no-office consulting contract.
He got let go very publicly = fired.

As far as Iger goes: Enabling - yes, but I doubt he'll be held accountable for it. Any public acknowledgement of JL's behavior is an invitation for lawsuits and more headlines. He still has an obligation to protect the company and do his job. It pains me to say this - but I think he has managed to do so. (I think that is as close to a compliment as I've ever given Iger.)
 
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Donaldfan1934

Well-Known Member
Also bear in mind that Bob Iger has a direct report who is in charge of all HR issues for the entire Walt Disney Company.

Jayne Parker, Chief Human Resources Officer, Walt Disney Company has worked for Disney for 30 years. She reports only to Bob Iger, and every HR executive in the Company around the globe reports to her. She is based in Burbank, and would have known full well about Lassetter's sexist shenanigans, or at the very least his instances of public drunkenness at official corporate events. Anyone who watched the D23 Expo videos last summer know Lassetter was a public drunk, that's no surprise to us.

It's Jayne's job to make sure all HR policies are being followed, especially like top senior execs like Lassetter. She quite clearly failed here. If you are going to crucify Iger, you need to put his top HR exec on the same cross. Jayne Parker. Basically, she sucks at her job obviously.

All that said, I went and read the Variety article that was salaciously linked as the "first to speak". And I have to say I was underwhelmed. Too much of Ms. Smolcic's tale reads as a mediocre employee upset at her mediocre annual reviews and mediocre career advancement.

"When I received a perplexing performance review after finishing my fourth production, it felt I’d never be equally recognized as a valuable asset by the company. The lengthy negative column listed things like, “designs too many options; seems like she’s trying too hard; asks too many questions.”

Is it possible those criticisms on her performance review were valid?

And her examples of sexism and harassment in the workplace were very vague and underwhelming when taken at face value. Stuff like...

"But Lasseter didn’t need an intimate setting to make female employees uncomfortable. He would give me, and countless other women, lecherous up-and-down looks (or unwanted hugs and touches) almost every time we crossed his path on campus. These tactless encounters made it clear that we were sex objects to him. The entire Pixar workforce witnessed the sleazy spin that John brought to Pixar’s Halloween bash. If he found a woman attractive when she got on stage, he’d ask her to spin around while he made suggestive comments, turning the event into yet another lewd spectacle."

Okay. Taking her for her word, the "lecherous" looks is one thing. But Lassetter MC'ing the PG-13 rated company Halloween party where people dress up in costumes and parade around on stage? It sounds like Ms. Smolcic has absolutely no sense of humor, or ability to laugh at herself and her peers. Or at best, she simply couldn't come up with a good Halloween costume. What were the other ladies dressed up like? We'll never know, but it sounds like adults being adults and knowing how to take a joke. Whatever, as vague as these examples are we can only take Ms. Smolcic for her word, but quite frankly I was expecting more when I heard this article was going to be "Stomach Churning".

And again I say, did Ms. Smolcic ever report any of this to HR? If this truly drove her from her dream job, I would imagine she must have made at least a couple of official HR reports. Or at the very least on her last day fire off an email to Jayne Parker, whose only job it is to create a safe and equitable workplace at Pixar.
I completely agree with your assessment on the Variety article. The whole time I was reading her extremely generalized comments and overreaction to situations like the Halloween party, I couldn't help but feel that this woman had a personal agenda to push. This isn't to say Lasseter didn't do anything damaging enough to put him in his current situation. As you mentioned, some things like the public drunkenness were out there for all of us to see. However, I feel that I would have a much clearer picture of this whole situation if I read a perspective from someone that came off a bit less self-serious and gave more answers than raised questions.
 

Pixieish

Well-Known Member
How many people here read the full essay?

Also, Pixar’s HR chief, Lori McAdams, left the company in the spring.

https://www.cartoonbrew.com/artist-rights/lori-mcadams-john-lasseter-protector-and-key-figure-in-illegal-wage-fixing-conspiracy-is-leaving-pixar-158058.html
I did. I've also often been the sole female employee for the companies I have worked for in several creative industries. I have MANY opinions about that essay, but I'm choosing to keep them to myself.
 
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rael ramone

Well-Known Member
Well, if you, as Bob did, have knowledge of a settlement payment and John continues to work for the company, is that not enabling? Or Steve Jobs’ concern about Lasseter’s professional conduct at pre-buyout Pixar?

They knew for years this was a problem and they kept it quiet to keep making money off him.
I think you might have misunderstood my post.

I'm not questioning the fact that Bob was an enabler (Chief Enabling Officer)....

I'm thinking a major reason that Lasseter got a cushy 'retirement' is because he was enabled. To minimize what John did. To protect Bob.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
I think you might have misunderstood my post.

I'm not questioning the fact that Bob was an enabler (Chief Enabling Officer)....

I'm thinking a major reason that Lasseter got a cushy 'retirement' is because he was enabled. To minimize what John did. To protect Bob.
Or more specifically Bob knew, which can directly endanger Bob.

Like, if Michael Eisner or his leuitenants didn’t know about Harvey, that’s incompentence, but them knowing about it and keeping it under wraps is much worse.
 

rael ramone

Well-Known Member
Or more specifically Bob knew, which can directly endanger Bob.

Like, if Michael Eisner or his leuitenants didn’t know about Harvey, that’s incompentence, but them knowing about it and keeping it under wraps is much worse.
One of the articles (THR?) mentioned a 'What do we do about John' meeting and specifically said Zenia was present. Which means Bob knew.
 

nyrebel3

Member
I completely agree with your assessment on the Variety article. The whole time I was reading her extremely generalized comments and overreaction to situations like the Halloween party, I couldn't help but feel that this woman had a personal agenda to push. This isn't to say Lasseter didn't do anything damaging enough to put him in his current situation. As you mentioned, some things like the public drunkenness were out there for all of us to see. However, I feel that I would have a much clearer picture of this whole situation if I read a perspective from someone that came off a bit less self-serious and gave more answers than raised questions.
Totally agree. In MY opinion, this is a chicken way to address a problem. If this was my dream job, I would fight to the bitter end to solve the problem - but there is a process. This is corporate america. Call HR. If they don't do anything file an EEOC complaint. I've seen EEOC investigations and they aren't fun or pretty. She was already seeing her career going down in flames so why not? I did not read where this lady did either of these things.

Reading these articles is like reading lawsuits. They are salacious and one sided. Nobody waits to get the other side of the story. And in the absence of the other side, everyone jumps to the conclusion that the charges must be true. Lawyers will never let TWDC release any info surrounding this. PR will advocate silence because any statement will offend somebody. TWDC is in a no win situation.

Could this lady not be as good as she thinks she is? If she is that good, couldn't she walk across the street and get a job at Dreamworks? Or maybe she is not accepting her part of her slow career advancement and is only looking to blame JL who is holding her back. There is a saying - "when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail." So even innocent events could be construed as evil if that is all you are looking for.

Just playing devil's advocate. JL may be the devil incarnate. But I do not think it is fair for anyone to be judged from just one side of an argument.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Because Pixar has never released a bad film *cough cough* Cars3 *cough cough*

The film should only be cancelled if it cannot rise to the quality of Pixar films, not because of Lasseter. However, I agree with @MerlinTheGoat, TS3 was the perfect ending to the story.
Cars 3 was at least decent. It was 2 that was bad.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Could this lady not be as good as she thinks she is? If she is that good, couldn't she walk across the street and get a job at Dreamworks? Or maybe she is not accepting her part of her slow career advancement and is only looking to blame JL who is holding her back. There is a saying - "when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail." So even innocent events could be construed as evil if that is all you are looking for.
Agreed.

She has no mention of any interaction she made with the HR office in Emeryville, or the corporate HR team in Burbank, much less the EEOC.

At the very least, she could have tried harder to come up with a good outfit for the Halloween Costume Contest. :cool:

In the absence of information her article left us with, all I really got out of it is that she takes herself very seriously, has mediocre skills in her chosen field, and probably isn't much fun to sit next to at a dinner party.
 

nyrebel3

Member
In the absence of information her article left us with, all I really got out of it is that she takes herself very seriously, has mediocre skills in her chosen field, and probably isn't much fun to sit next to at a dinner party.
So, you taking her to the MNSSHP is not happening? :cool:
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
Agreed.

She has no mention of any interaction she made with the HR office in Emeryville, or the corporate HR team in Burbank, much less the EEOC.

At the very least, she could have tried harder to come up with a good outfit for the Halloween Costume Contest. :cool:

In the absence of information her article left us with, all I really got out of it is that she takes herself very seriously, has mediocre skills in her chosen field, and probably isn't much fun to sit next to at a dinner party.
but... #metoo - case closed ;)
 

Travel Junkie

Well-Known Member
Agreed.

She has no mention of any interaction she made with the HR office in Emeryville, or the corporate HR team in Burbank, much less the EEOC.

At the very least, she could have tried harder to come up with a good outfit for the Halloween Costume Contest. :cool:

In the absence of information her article left us with, all I really got out of it is that she takes herself very seriously, has mediocre skills in her chosen field, and probably isn't much fun to sit next to at a dinner party.

Couple of points:

- a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of why people do not report harassment. Most do not and for valid reasons. From her own words she was warned multiple times by other colleagues how to behave who to stay away from etc. As someone who works in the entertainment industry I can tell you that even today it is best for your career if you don't say anything. I've seen countless of very talented men and women sadly leave because they could no longer or refuse to work under certain conditions.
- I'm not sure where the mediocre skills comment came from. In response to someone else mentioning going down the street to Dreamworks perhaps? If so, Dreamworks is not down the street from Pixar. In fact, after Pixar she had a pretty sweet job. Maybe she didn't want to work in animation after her experience at Pixar? Maybe she didn't want to move? Maybe she just found a job she liked after Pixar that didn't happen to be in animation but also doing what she loved. She is a graphic designer not an animator. There are plenty of ways you can go with graphic design.
- I won't even address not fun at a party comment. Perhaps an attempt at humor, but if you read her full story, you may rephrase. Or maybe not based on past comments you've made about others.

In the same post we have someone saying they should have both reported the incidents and question their talent because they don't have some prestigious animation job today. Victims face these sorts of problems every day and why so many never choose to report. They are called names, judged by the ignorant, and often blackballed when they try to move on. Imagine the victim trying to work up the corporate ladder and contemplating what to do. Knowing full well that if they report the illegal things being done to them that their career in animation is likely over and who knows what other fields. Which path do they choose?

It's easy to Monday morning quarterback and say they should have done this or that. We were not there and can't possible be in a position to judge. From experience of working in those types of environments I can say it is not easy to do what some people think is so easy. It simply isn't.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
Agreed.

She has no mention of any interaction she made with the HR office in Emeryville, or the corporate HR team in Burbank, much less the EEOC.

At the very least, she could have tried harder to come up with a good outfit for the Halloween Costume Contest. :cool:

In the absence of information her article left us with, all I really got out of it is that she takes herself very seriously, has mediocre skills in her chosen field, and probably isn't much fun to sit next to at a dinner party.
In the essay, she beat herself up a bit for NOT going to HR.

Also, her friend, who did speak to HR during their exit interview was given some lip service and her harasser was promoted and continues to be a problem at Pixar.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
- a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of why people do not report harassment. Most do not and for valid reasons. From her own words she was warned multiple times by other colleagues how to behave who to stay away from etc. As someone who works in the entertainment industry I can tell you that even today it is best for your career if you don't say anything. I've seen countless of very talented men and women sadly leave because they could no longer or refuse to work under certain conditions.
Okay. But if I was horribly wronged and faced sexual harassment from my bosses that forced me out of my "dream job" in tears, at the very least on my way out I would send a letter to the HR department telling them how screwed up the place was and why. Why didn't she at least do that? Ms. Jayne Parker, Chief Human Resources Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, California 91526.

- I'm not sure where the mediocre skills comment came from. In response to someone else mentioning going down the street to Dreamworks perhaps?
The mediocre skills comment came from her own article, as she explained she had repeated performance reviews that were not good and listed her challenges as “designs too many options; seems like she’s trying too hard; asks too many questions." She wants the reader to assume those were all fabricated by her bosses out of thin air, but my hunch is those performance notes were grounded in reality, whether she cares to admit it or not.

- I won't even address not fun at a party comment. Perhaps an attempt at humor, but if you read her full story, you may rephrase.
I've read her full story via the article. She appears to take herself very, very seriously and doesn't seem to have a sense of humor about anything, not even the office Halloween costume contest. She may very well have faced real sexual harassment, although her examples she shared in her article were rather vague and not too compelling.

But I stand by my gut instinct that based on her article she's a bit of a bore, takes life very seriously, is quick to blame others, and wouldn't be a sparkling companion to sit next to at a dinner party. Your mileage may vary and you may find her the toast of the town, but I doubt I would.
 

Travel Junkie

Well-Known Member
I've read her full story via the article. She appears to take herself very, very seriously and doesn't seem to have a sense of humor about anything, not even the office Halloween costume contest. She may very well have faced real sexual harassment, although her examples she shared in her article were rather vague and not too compelling.
She was sexually assaulted as a girl then called a **** for it. Perhaps not having a sense of humor about being sexually harassed at work is warranted.

Okay. But if I was horribly wronged and faced sexual harassment from my bosses that forced me out of my "dream job" in tears, at the very least on my way out I would send a letter to the HR department telling them how screwed up the place was and why. Why didn't she at least do that? Ms. Jayne Parker, Chief Human Resources Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, California 91526.
Even after the fact alerting HR to issues is often career suicide. You may very bring down the harasser, but often yourself too. It happens quite often especially in small industries like animation where everyone knows everyone. It's easy to judge from afar when you don't have to live with the consequences. There are consequences to reporting harassment. Even today, let alone a few years ago when this occurred.
 
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