Rashida Jones has clarified her reasons for leaving Toy Story 4 after reports emerged linking her departure from the film to Disney/Pixar head John Lasseter’s leave of absence from the company due to “missteps”.
Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack had been hired to write the screenplay for the forthcoming film, with Lasseter originally set to co-direct Toy Story 4 along with Josh Cooley. Cooley is now the sole director of the film.
With Jones and McCormack recently halting their involvement with Toy Story 4, the pair have this week become the subject of a Hollywood Reporter report which claimed that their departure from the film was linked to Lasseter making “an unwanted advance” toward Jones.
Jones has denied the allegations made by the report in a new statement, which has been obtained by Entertainment Weekly, clarifying that she and McCormack parted ways with Pixar due to “creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences”.
“The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible,” Jones and McCormack’s statement reads. “We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. 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. However, it is also a culture where women and people of colour do not have an equal creative voice.”
Observing that only one of Pixar’s 20 films had been co-directed by a woman – while only one film had been directed by a person of colour – Jones and McCormack then called on 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.”