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Pixar and Disney remove 'casting couch'-esque gag from Toy Story 2 blooper reel
It seems Disney and Pixar are taking the Me Too movement very seriously by removing what could be seen as an offensive gag from all current copies of Toy Story 2, which was directed by John Lasseter and released in November of 1999.
The bit occurs during the "blooper reel" of the film's end credits, where Woody (Tom Hanks) turns around Stinky Pete's box to reveal the nefarious prospector (Kelsey Grammer) sensually talking to two Barbies from Al's Toy Barn and promising to get them roles in the movie. SYFY WIRE acquired its own copy of Toy Story 2 on iTunes and was able to confirm the clip (which you can watch on YouTube here) is no longer present in the reel.
It's not hard to see why the "casting couch"-esque gag was cut: It feels wrong and creepy, especially in the current climate, and when you consider the news around Lasseter these last few years.
In November of 2017, the legendary animator took a leave of absence from Pixar following allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. By June of 2018, it was confirmed that he'd be parting ways with Disney for good after a six-month hiatus. Many saw this as the end of his career, but in January of this year, Skydance hired Lasseter to head its animation division, a move that sparked a controversy and led to Emma Thompson leaving one of the studio's animated projects.
"Let me be clear: we have not entered into this decision lightly," wrote Skydance founder David Ellison in January. "While we would never minimize anyone’s subjective views on behavior, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognized. We are certain that John has learned valuable lessons and is ready to prove his capabilities as a leader and a colleague. And he has given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner that is the expectation of every Skydance colleague and partner."
Thompson broke her silence not long after, stating:
"It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate."
This development arrives as Toy Story 4 enters its third week in theaters everywhere. To date, the latest sequel in the franchise has racked up over $509 million worldwide.