Rashida Jones has shared why she left “Toy Story 4,” and it’s actually not about John Lasseter

Some two years ago, Toy Story 4 was announced. Even more exciting? Rashida Jones came onboard with her writing partner, Will McCormack, to pen the script for the next installment in the widely beloved franchise. Sounds like a dream scenario for Woody and Buzz, right? Right. At some point between then and now, Jones and McCormack quietly left the project (though they’re still credited with the story), and now, following the current sexual misconduct allegations brought against Pixar head, John Lasseter, Jones is explaining exactly why she departed Toy Story 4.

Tuesday afternoon, The Hollywood Reporter published a memo they obtained from Lasseter addressed to Pixar employees, explaining that he was taking a leave of absence due to unspecified reasons. In his memo, he goes on to explain, “I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.” Following these revelations, it quickly came out that women at Pixar felt uncomfortable working with him, due to lingering physical contact, and in some instances, unwanted kissing.

In a separate story, THR reported that Jones had left Toy Story 4 for these reasons, and claimed that Lasseter had made unwanted advances toward her. However, if you ask Jones, that is not true. Before her part in this story spins any further out of control, she’d like to set the record straight regarding why she left the movie. It was not about Lasseter; rather, the fact that she and McCormack felt there were not equal voices at Pixar — especially for women and people of color.

In a statement to The New York Times, Jones and McCormack explained:

“We feel like we have been put in a position where we need to speak for ourselves...We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. That said, we are happy to see people speaking out about behavior that made them uncomfortable. As for us, 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. But it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice, as is demonstrated by their director demographics: out of the 20 films in the company’s history, only one was co-directed by a woman and only one was directed by a person of color."

"We encourage 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.

In the hours since the accusations against Lasseter first broke, many stories have come out explaining that women felt uneasy working with him, and tried their best to avoid him (along with advising other women at the company to do the same). It is disheartening to hear that this was the culture at Pixar, and our thoughts go out to all the victims involved in everything unfolding.

On top of that, we applaud Rashida for speaking up about this completely different form of mistreatment against women and people of color. It’s clear that when the dust starts to settle, Pixar is going to have to reevaluate itself and how it can right these wrongs for everyone.