- A former Pixar employee wrote a column for Variety criticizing the “open sexism” of the film company’s corporate environment under Pixar cofounder John Lasseter.
- In her column, Cassandra Smolcic, a former graphic designer at Pixar, said she personally experienced sexual harassment over her five years of employment with the company, from Lasseter, her unnamed former department head, and other male coworkers.
A former Pixar employee has written a column for Variety criticizing the “open sexism” of the film company’s corporate environment under the leadership of Pixar cofounder and former chief John Lasseter.
Disney announced earlier this month that Lasseter would depart the company at the end of this year. Lasseter took a six-month sabbatical in November shortly after The Hollywood Reporter published a report on allegations of Lasseter’s inappropriate workplace behavior with his employees, which included “grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes.”
In her column for Variety, Cassandra Smolcic, a former graphic designer at Pixar, said that Lasseter’s “open sexism” had the effect of “emboldening others to act like frat boys in just about any campus setting” at the company.
Smolcic wrote that she personally experienced sexual harassment over her five years of employment with Pixar, from Lasseter, her unnamed former department head, and other men at the company. She said her harassment included “many unwelcome, objectifying interactions” and a physical groping from one male coworker.
“Just after starting on ‘Cars 2,’ I was told by a superior that I would be uninvited from all our weekly art department meetings because Lasseter ‘has a hard time controlling himself’ around young women,” Smolcic wrote.
Smolcic described how “management teams across the studio were well known for cleaning up the messes of powerful male superiors, regardless of their poor behavior or challenging leadership styles,” while Pixar’s “few female leads lacked backing and basic respect from the institution and the masses.”
Smolcic said she left the company at 30 after being “physically and mentally burnt out after years of bumping up against the glass ceiling” at the company.
Smolcic closed her column by praising Pixar’s decision to move forward with Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter as chief creative officers at Disney Animation and Pixar, respectively.
“But dismantling John’s legacy will take more than just replacing a single executive, because such deeply ingrained biases require deliberate, conscientious effort to identify and dismantle. Disney and Pixar must recognize that women and underrepresented minorities are just as capable, talented, complex, and dimensional as the white fraternity of men who have monopolized animation thus far,” she wrote.
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the matter.