Disney Theatrical Chief Thomas Schumacher Accused of Harassment

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Thomas Schumacher

The veteran studio executive is behind multimillion-dollar stage productions of 'The Lion King,' 'Aladdin' and the soon-to-open 'Frozen.'

Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions, has been accused of workplace sexual misconduct and harassment. 

In a new report, The Wall Street Journal spoke with former employees that described Schumacher's use of inappropriate language and lewd remarks about their appearance.

Ex-staffer Bruce Williams worked in a Disney story-development department in 1994 that was then overseen by Schumacher. He has accused his former boss of making unwanted advances that included comments about his appearance. Another employee, Jane Buchanan, reported to Disney inappropriate language used by Schumacher while she worked for him in 2006. 

Schumacher, a prolific producer, has been with Disney for three decades, starting as as a producer of animated features, including Pocahontas, Mulan and Tarzan. He was later named president of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

He shifted into stage properties when the company started a theatrical arm, focusing on bringing new versions of classic Disney animated films to the stage. Schumacher is behind Broadway hits like The Lion King (the highest grossing stage show in history), Aladdin and the upcoming musical based on the massively popular Frozen, which begins previews this week at the St. James Theatre, ahead of an official opening March 22.

Most recently, Schumacher has exec producer credits on live-action musical adaptations of Beauty and the Beast and Jon Favreau's upcoming Lion King movie.

An influential figure within the theater community, Schumacher recently was appointed chairman of The Broadway League, the industry body that oversees the sector and is a joint presenter (with The American Theatre Wing) of the annual Tony Awards.

The accusations against the Disney veteran come a few months after another top exec with the studio, Walt Disney Animation head John Lasseter, was accused of a pattern of misconduct by employees. He is currently taking a leave of absence from Pixar.