Rashida Jones has denied quitting Toy Story 4 over Pixar boss John Lasseter’s “unwanted advances”, insisting her departure was down to “philosophical differences”.
The former Parks and Recreation actress and her writing partner Will McCormack were announced as the co-writers of the animated sequel in late 2014, but it was reported on Tuesday (21Nov17) they had left the project early on, with The Hollywood Reporter suggesting their departure was down to unwanted advances from the Disney/Pixar executive.
Rashida and Will have now addressed the reports, insisting the story is false and they left because of creative differences.
“We feel like we have been put in a position where we need to speak for ourselves,” they wrote in a statement to the New York Times. “We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. That said, we are happy to see people speaking out about behavior that made them uncomfortable. As for us, we parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.”
They continued their statement by calling for diversity within Pixar, highlighting that in their filmography, only one movie has been co-directed by a woman and only one by a person of colour.
Stating that there is “a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice” at Pixar, they urged executives to do better. They concluded, “We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, they will still receive a screenplay credit for the movie, while Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich will receive story credits.
After the website published a story about Lasseter’s inappropriate behavior and misconduct, he apologized in a memo to staff and has stepped down as Chief Creative Officer of both Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios while he takes a six-month leave of absence.