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Pixar co-founder John Lasseter takes leave of absence, citing ‘missteps’

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Nov 21, 2017, 4:03 PM EST

John Lasseter, head of Disney Animation and co-founder of Pixar, is taking a leave of absence after sending a memo to employees in which he apologized for “missteps” and affirmed that “everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”

The Hollywood Reporter first obtained and published Lasseter’s memo to staff. In the memo, Lasseter did not elaborate on the specific role he views himself to have played in any of the unnamed interactions that moved him to step away from his work at Disney Animation.

Rather, he addressed employees as a group, and wrote that his intentions involving any employee interaction have always been “benign.”

“It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable,” Lasseter wrote, per THR.

“That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. 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. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”

SYFY WIRE has reached out to Disney for comment.

The leave of absence comes as Pixar readies its Thanksgiving Day release of Coco, an animated story set amid the lore of the Mexican Día de Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” holiday.