In this Intermission with Derrick Clements column, I explain why I retired a project I loved:
Last week, I released the final episode of The Pixar Podcast. On that final episode — titled “So long, partners” — I explained my reasoning for retiring the podcast, and I’d like to share those reasons here.
On Nov. 21, 2017, the Hollywood Reporter broke a story that Pixar studio head and founder John Lasseter would be leaving the company for six months. Just before the story broke, Lasseter sent an email to employees in which he acknowledged “painful” conversations and unspecified “missteps,” including “unwanted hugs.”
As you might imagine from the person who made something called “The Pixar Podcast,” I was devastated by this news. My admiration for John Lasseter was enormous.
There weren’t a lot of details about the allegations or what Lasseter was apologizing for in his email statement to employees. One fact that was especially puzzling to me was the timing: The email to staff was dated Nov. 21, just one day before the U.S. release date of “Coco.”
Of course, no one at Pixar or Disney chose for the story to come out when it did — or for the whole #MeToo movement to pick up a month earlier with the downfall of Harvey Weinstein — but the fact that Lasseter would acknowledge missteps and announce a six-month leave of absence on the day before the U.S. release of a big Pixar movie made me wonder if there were more details of this story that would yet come out.
And I have to say, it kind of punctured my enthusiasm for covering “Coco,” a movie I absolutely loved, and whose U.S. release I wish hadn’t had this cloud around it.