Disney Animation to Hold ‘Day of Listening’ for Staff in the Midst of John Lasseter’s ‘Sabbatical’


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On Thursday, the employees at Disney Animation Studios are set to hold a meeting for what is being called a “Day of Listening.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, a “handful of human-resources professionals [will be] present to facilitate a discussion of workplace concerns.”

Long-time Disney Cast Members have stated that a gathering of this nature “is unprecedented for the Burbank-based animation unit.” It’s also being reported that “sources with ties to both Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios speculate that John Lasseter, who oversees both companies but has been on leave since November, will not return from what was characterized by Disney as a six-month ‘sabbatical.’ At the time, Lasseter, 61, acknowledged ‘painful’ conversations and unspecified ‘missteps’ in a memo to staff.”

The Hollywood Reporter also states that:

“Disney declined to comment, but an insider described the “Day of Listening” as part of a frequent effort to engage with employees.”

A source told the reporter that Pixar held a listening event several years ago and where employees brought up concerns about Lasseter’s general behavior. One animator reportedly stated that “when Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull delivered that feedback to Lasseter, Lasseter was so angry that he didn’t speak to Catmull for more than a week.”



As we reported back in November, Lasseter appears to have a history of inappropriate behavior such as “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” Multiple sources told the reporter that “Lasseter would drink heavily at company social events such as premiere parties, but these sources have said the behavior was not always confined to such settings.”

In the midst of Lasseter’s ‘sabbatical,’ animators are speculating as to who might run Pixar and Disney Animation if he were to not come back. “For Pixar, the name most often mentioned is Pete Docter, whose directing credits include Monsters Inc., Up, and Inside Out. Docter has for years been a member of the studio’s ‘brain trust’ that guides Pixar projects.” Others are thinking that the replacement might not be a single person at either Pixar or Disney Animation going forward, but rather multiple people. “Docter could be paired up with Finding Dory director and fellow ‘brain trust’ member Andrew Stanton and possibly another co-head. At Disney, the speculation is that Jennifer Lee (Frozen) and Zootopia co-directors Rich Moore and Byron Howard will form a triumvirate.”

News Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Image Source: Disney


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