John Lasseter, head of animation for Disney and Pixar, said Friday that he will be stepping down from the entertainment conglomerate following allegations of sexual misconduct.
The animation titan went on a leave of absence in November 2017 after several people accused Lasseter of frequently “grabbing,” “kissing” and “making comments about physical attributes” during company events.
“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities,” Lasseter said in a statement released by Disney, according to USA Today. “While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges.”
News of Lasseter’s exit comes less than a month after Disney was reportedly weighing whether and how to reintegrate him following the allegations.
Lasseter made his directorial debut with 1995′s “Toy Story” and has produced nearly every Pixar feature since “Monsters, Inc.” in 2001. He is also responsible for creating Luxo Jr., Pixar’s iconic desk lamp mascot.
Robert Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co., issued a statement praising Lasseter for “reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever. We are profoundly grateful for his contributions.”
Disney said Lasseter would take on a consulting role for the company through the end of the year and then step down permanently.
The allegations against Lasseter arose amid a wave of sexual misconduct accusations implicating a number of powerful men in Hollywood, including a series of damaging reports published in The New York Times and The New Yorker in early October about former super-producer Harvey Weinstein.
Disney owned Weinstein’s company for over a decade. The allegations against Weinstein ― which ranged from harassment to rape ― gave rise to questions over how much Disney executives knew about the accusations and when they found out.