Rashida Jones ran errands in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, one day after denying a report that she quit working on Toy Story 4 because of unwanted advances by Pixar co-founder John Lasseter.
It’s the first time the actress and writer has been photographed in public since Lasseter announced he was taking a sabbatical in a vaguely-worded memo that cited ‘missteps’ with employees.
Jones, 41, looked cool in a white fedora with black band and large black sunglasses.
Pictured: Rashida Jones ran errands in Beverly Hills Wednesday, one day after denying a report she quit working on Toy Story 4 because of unwanted advances by Pixar co-founder John Lasseter
She wore a short-sleeved white blouse that helped to combat the record-breaking temperatures in Los Angeles the day before the annual Thanksgiving holiday.
She added high-waisted brown slacks and black slingback shoes.
Parks And Rec and The Office star Jones sipped on a cold beverage as she strolled through the upscale community carrying a store paper bag.
She wore her dark hair in a pony tail under her hat and accessorized with gold necklaces and earrings.
Stylish: Jones, 41, wore a white fedora with black band and large sunglasses and sipped on a cold beverage as she strolled through the upscale community carrying a store paper bag
Coordinated ensemble: She wore a short-sleeved white blouse that helped to combat the record-breaking heat in LA and added high-waisted brown slacks and black slingback shoes
Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack say in a statement first released to The New York Times on Tuesday that they left Disney Pixar’s fourth installment of the hit animated movie because of creative and philosophical differences.
Their statement called on Pixar to do more to hire women and people of color for creative positions, including as directors.
While stating that The Hollywood Reporter, which first claimed Lasseter’s actions were behind their departure, did not speak for them, they applauded unnamed sources included in THR’s story who told the trade magazine Lasseter’s actions made them uncomfortable.
The same day Lasseter, who is married with five children, sent a vaguely worked memo to staff in which announced he was going on a six-month sabbatical after ‘letting them down’ with ‘unwanted hugs’ and ‘gestures’.
However, the claims against Lasseter didn’t end with the Jones allegations.
Former Pixar staff and animation industry insiders told the site that Lasseter – who is known for hugging people in the industry – also groped and harassed women.
He was known to drink heavily at industry functions, but his behavior also took place outside that, insiders said.
Claims: Inside sources told The Hollywood Reporter Parks And Recreation star Jones (left) quit working on Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 because Pixar founder John Lasseter (right) made unwanted advances on her; they’re pictured at an event in August
Taking a sabbatical: Lasseter (left with wife Mary; right with Mary and three of their five kids) was also accused of groping Pixar staff. Disney said Jones left due to ‘creative differences’
One source said that 15 years ago he spotted Lasseter with a woman at a meeting.
‘She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh,’ he said. ‘The best I can describe it is as a defensive posture… John had his hand on her knee, though, moving around.’
He said the woman told him afterward that ‘it was unfortunate for her to wear a skirt that day and if she didn’t have her hand on her own right leg, his hand would have traveled.’
He also said that when he asked why two women had been cropped out of a photo with Lasseter he was told: ‘We had to crop it. Do you know where his hands were?’
One woman told THR: ‘You’d hug him and he’d whisper in your ear, a long time.’
‘He hugged and hugged and everyone’s looking at you. Just invading the space.’
It got so bad that women routinely turned their heads away to avoid his kisses when he hugged them, and referred to a move designed to stop him touching their legs as ‘The Lasseter’.
On Tuesday Lasseter said in a memo to staff that he’d had ‘difficult conversations’ with unnamed parties that were ‘painful’ to him.
‘It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be,’ he wrote.
Lasseter (right) co-founded Pixar with Steve Jobs (left) and others. He directed Toy Story 1 and 2, and has produced every Pixar movie since Monsters, Inc as well as many Disney flicks
‘It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent.
‘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,’ he wrote.
He said that he would therefore take six months out of the office ‘to take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here.’
He added: ‘My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity to start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.’
A Disney spokesperson says the company is committed to maintaining a respectful work environment and fully supports Lasseter’s sabbatical.
Lasseter co-founded Pixar with Steve Jobs and went on to direct some of its most popular films, including Toy Story 1 and 2, the Cars films, and A Bug’s Life.
He has also produced every Pixar feature since Monsters, Inc, in 2001.
He has been the chief creative officer for Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2006, overseeing hits like Frozen and Moana.
Pixar’s next film, Coco, hits theaters on Thanksgiving Day.
LASSETER’S MEMO IN FULL
I have always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers.
This kind of creative culture takes constant vigilance to maintain. It’s built on trust and respect, and it becomes fragile if any members of the team don’t feel valued.
As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen; and I now believe I have been falling short in this regard.
I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me.
It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be.
It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. 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.
In my conversations with Disney, we are united in our commitment to always treat any concerns you have with the seriousness they deserve, and to address them in an appropriate manner.
We also share a desire to reinforce the vibrant, respectful culture that has been the foundation of our studios’ success since the beginning.
And we agree the first step in that direction is for me to take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here.
As hard as it is for me to step away from a job I am so passionate about and a team I hold in the highest regard, not just as artists but as people, I know it’s the best thing for all of us right now.
My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity to start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.
I’m immensely proud of this team, and I know you will continue to wow the world in my absence.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and look forward to working together again in the new year.