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LA Times: Lasseter attempting Hollywood’s biggest #MeToo comeback. How’s that going?


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  • LA Times: Lasseter attempting Hollywood’s biggest #MeToo comeback. How’s that going?

    Some quotes:

    In 2009, Cassandra Smolcic walked into Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif., a wide-eyed intern with big dreams. Five years later she walked out a frustrated, disillusioned graphic designer — never to return.

    Smolcic said she was warned on her first day about Pixar co-founder John Lasseter’s sexist attitude and inappropriate behavior. “It didn’t take long to realize what kind of world I was in,” she said. Lasseter was the animation industry’s centrifugal force, and Smolcic experienced firsthand what she and other women have described as a toxic boys’ club where women were routinely disrespected and swept to the fringes.

    Passing Lasseter in the campus atrium, Smolcic recalled him staring at her “like a piece of meat. I wanted to crawl back into a hole and be invisible.” While she was working on “Cars 2,” she says, a manager pulled her from the weekly art reviews, where artists pitched their ideas, explaining, “‘John has a hard time controlling himself around young, pretty girls, so it will be better for everyone if we just keep you out of sight.’”

    Representatives for Pixar owner Walt Disney Co. and Lasseter declined to comment.

    Smolcic, 35, was not surprised in June when she learned that Lasseter was stepping down from Pixar after several women had come forward to accuse him of unwanted touching and fostering a culture of systemic bias.

    When the news broke Jan. 9 that Lasseter had been hired to run the fledgling animation division of film and TV production company Skydance Media, Smolcic was stunned. “It was pretty shocking to hear that Skydance catapulted John back into such an important leadership role without anyone testing out his merit as a changed man or a ‘reformed sexist’ on the job first,” she said....

    Inside Skydance, the mood after the announcement was one of shock and anxiety. In one account, audible gasps could be heard when the news went out, with female staffers crying in their offices. In another, Lasseter’s arrival was described by one employee as the end of “a happy and creative work environment.”

    In the tightknit animation community, several female animators expressed their unwillingness to work for or with Skydance, and suggested that Skydance might have trouble attracting female animators.

    Last week, Paramount Animation chief Mireille Soria told staffers they will not be working with Skydance Animation (Paramount has a distribution deal with the company)....

    Full story here

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