Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Rashida Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack, have issued a statement tonight denying an allegation made by The Hollywood Reporter earlier today, refuting the claim that they left the creative team for Toy Story 4 because of an “unwanted advance” from John Lasseter. Lasseter—the chief creative officer for both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios—took a six-month leave of absence today, citing “missteps” he’d made toward his employees. THR alleged that one of said incidents involved Jones, and that it was the reason that she and McCormack departed the project.

Not so, according to a statement initially given to The New York Times, and later supplied to Variety. “The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible,” the duo wrote, adding, “In this instance, The Hollywood Reporter does not speak for us. We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances.”

Instead, Jones and McCormack write, the problem stems not from Lasseter’s actions, but from attitudes that they say run through all of Pixar, silencing women and minority voices. “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.” (The former credit is presumably Brenda Chapman’s for Brave, though it’s not clear if Jones and McCormack mean The Good Dinosaur’s Peter Sohn or Inside Out co-director Ronnie Del Carmen for the latter. Either way, the wider point about the company’s track record of hiring directors stands.)

You can read the duo’s full statement below:

We feel like we have been put in a position where we need to speak for ourselves. The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible and, in fact, counterproductive for the people who do want to tell their stories. In this instance, The Hollywood Reporter does not speak for us. 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.

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