7:32pm PT by Carolyn Giardina
Paramount Animation Chief Says Her Team Won't Be Working With John Lasseter at Skydance
The chief of Paramount Animation reassured her team Monday that they will not be working with Skydance Animation, which announced last week that it is hiring John Lasseter, the creative force behind Disney and Pixar animation who stepped away from those two companies after admitting unspecified "missteps." Her reassurances were not presented as a corporate edict, but rather represented Paramount Animation president Mirielle Soria's own feelings about Lasseter's hiring as she provided a forum for employees to express any questions and concerns of their own.
In November 2017, Lasseter took a leave of absence from Disney after acknowledging "missteps" amid harassment allegations. Last June, the studio announced that Lasseter — who co-founded Pixar and directed its debut CG animated feature Toy Story — would leave the company at the end of the year.
Lasseter's hiring at Skydance shocked the industry, with Time's Up and Women and Hollywood immediately criticizing the decision. Time's Up stated that the hiring "endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence." Some women have already come forward to say that they would not work for him. On Monday, Women in Animation president Marge Dean sent a letter to members arguing that the hiring “seems to have weakened” progress surrounding workplace harassment.
Soria, a former DreamWorks Animation exec, was named head of Paramount Animation in July 2017, and she leads a managerial team headed by a number of women executives, including Sandra Rabins, executive vp; Emily Nordwind, vp production and development; Katherine MacDonald, vp production and marketing; and Maya Kambe, creative executive.