Rashida Jones says she didn't leave Toy Story 4 over unwanted advances from John Lasseter

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Nov 22, 2017, 10:17 AM EST

Actress and screenwriter Rashida Jones denies reports that she left the upcoming Toy Story 4 over sexual advances from Disney and Pixar’s chief creative officer John Lasseter, who announced Wednesday that he is taking a leave of absence from the company following “missteps.”

Instead, she says she and her writing partner Will McCormack have left the production over “creative and philosophical differences.”

In a statement released to SYFY WIRE — which was first reported by The New York Times — Jones and McCormack sought to clarify any misunderstandings stemming from any initial reports.   

“We feel like we have been put in a position where we need to speak for ourselves.  The break neck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible and, in fact, counterproductive for the people who do want to tell their stories. In this instance, The Hollywood Reporter does not speak for us.

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.

There is so much talent at Pixar and we remain enormous fans of their films. But it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice, as is demonstrated by their director demographics: out of the 20 films in the company’s history, only one was co-directed by a woman and only one was directed by a person of color.

We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring, and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.”

Additionally, Jones’ rep tells SYFY WIRE that the actress does not plan to comment beyond her released statement.

According to the Los Angeles Times, several of Lasseter’s employees have made internal complaints over his unspecified behavior. In an internal memo published by the L.A. Times, Lasseter wrote, "It's never easy to face your missteps, but it's the only way to learn from them.” To that end, he is taking a six-month pause from Disney and Pixar.

Jones has written one episode of Black Mirror (“Nosedive”). She has four other writing credits to her name, including Toy Story 4. But Jones is best known for her acting. She starred in the 2009-2015 comedy Parks & Recreation as well as the U.S. version of The Office.

(Via Variety)