UPDATE: Rashida Jones has issued a statement to The New York Times saying that her and Will McCormack's departure wasn't a result of an unwanted advance from John Lasseter, but due to "creative and philosophical" differences, specifically because they considered Pixar to be a culture "where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice." The original story follows below.
Earlier today, Pixar chief creative officer and Disney Animation head John Lasseter announced that he will be taking a six-month leave of absence from the studio after acknowledging a number of "painful" conversations and "missteps" concerning his leadership role. Now it's come out that Lasseter is the latest entertainment/media figure to be accused of sexual misconduct. For instance, supposedly his behavior is what led comedy actress/writer Rashida Jones to depart Toy Story 4 a while back.
Rashida Jones, known for her work on Parks and Recreation, The Office and Angie Tribeca (among others), was hired in late 2014 to pen Toy Story 4 with her then-writing partner, Will McCormack, using a story crafted by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich. Jones will still be credited as a writer on the next Toy Story movie, but according to sources who spoke with THR, both she and McCormack left the project early after Lasseter made an "unwanted advance." Neither Jones nor McCormack responded to requests for comment on this story, and while Disney didn't provide a direct comment either, a spokesperson said that the writing duo departed Toy Story 4 due to "creative differences."
Reportedly John Lasseter's encounter with Rashida Jones wasn't a onetime incident of sexual harassment, as other unnamed sources/insiders allege that he's behaved this way for a long time. Regarding Jones, however, this is a unsettling update in Toy Story 4's long development. Assuming that Pixar brought a different writer on board to adjust the script after Jones and McCormack's departure, it's unclear how much of the duo's work will remain in the theatrical release, though given that they're both still being credited, presumably there will at least still be some basic elements left intact. Lasseter was originally supposed to direct Toy Story 4, but he stepped down due to other commitments. He is still attached as a producer, and Josh Cooley was brought it to fill those directorial shoes.
After spending three movies, i.e. over a decade, in Andy's possession, 2010's Toy Story 3 ended with Andy giving the main characters to the young Bonnie before heading off to college. Toy Story 4 has been described as a standalone sequel "love story" that sees Woody and Buzz attempting to bring Little Bo Peep back home. Most of the main cast will reprise their roles, although Don Rickles passed away before he could record his Mr. Potato lines. As for newcomers, Patricia Arquette has been added to the cast as a "laid-back mom, who's described as a hippie."
Toy Story 4 will be released in theaters on June 21, 2019. Be sure to also look through our Disney movie guide to see what other projects from the Mouse House family are arriving in the near future.