Wednesday, November 22, 2017

IT'S NOT ONLY JOHN LASSETER

John Lasseter’s full leave-of-absence letter:

I have always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers. This kind of creative culture takes constant vigilance to maintain. It’s built on trust and respect, and it becomes fragile if any members of the team don’t feel valued. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen; and I now believe I have been falling short in this regard.

I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be. It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. 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.

In my conversations with Disney, we are united in our commitment to always treat any concerns you have with the seriousness they deserve, and to address them in an appropriate manner. We also share a desire to reinforce the vibrant, respectful culture that has been the foundation of our studios’ success since the beginning. And we agree the first step in that direction is for me to take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here. As hard as it is for me to step away from a job I am so passionate about and a team I hold in the highest regard, not just as artists but as people, I know it’s the best thing for all of us right now. My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity to start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.

I’m immensely proud of this team, and I know you will continue to wow the world in my absence. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and look forward to working together again in the new year.

John

Animation is not, as everybody thinks, a “fun” job.
While the challenges are enjoyable, it is mostly very hard work.
But for women it’s not only hard work
because, along with the glass ceilings and rampant sexism,
it’s also a hostile environment
where even the most timid of males feels free
to insult and humiliate female workers with impunity. 

Animation is a boys’ club culture 
where women’s looks are constantly remarked on, 
where they’re routinely groped, dismissed, ignored, 
patronized and underpaid. 

If a woman stands up for herself 
she will be told: “If you don’t like it, leave.”
And if she doesn’t leave, she will be
ostracized, blacklisted and slandered.

This misogyny started with Walt Disney 
and pervades the animation industry worldwide.
That it persists today is shocking.
While the art of animation is cutting edge, 
the culture is primitive and backward,
the self-serving language of the above memo notwithstanding.

In a master stroke (they've been handling sexual harassment for decades)
DISNEY lawyers carefully crafted a folksy memo full of euphemisms and
omissions for John Lasseter to sign which successfully allowed the studio 
to slither out of firing a man who is more important to them than 
providing a safe place for women to work.

Allow me to interpret the memo from personal experience:
for "trust & respect" and "vibrant, respectful culture" read patronizing dismissiveness disguised in formal corporate-speak.
"if any members of the team don't feel valued" - It's widely know in the animation industry that women are not valued or respected at Disney.
"conversations" - Lasseter's behavior being well-known, Disney 
would have met with lawyers, called in Lasseter and had him take this 
leave of absence to pre-empt an actual scandal. 
Did any women actually speak up, lodge formal complaints? 
If so were they forced to sign NDAs or will we eventually hear from them? 
"unwanted hug" or "mis-steps" - This means groping women's upper thighs during meetings, inappropriate kissing and touching, making remarks about their appearance and more.
"My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity 
to start taking better care of myself" - As though this was the issue.
Notice women are never mentioned in the entire memo. Neither is harassment. Using euphemisms and omissions it repeatedly suggests 
hurtful misunderstandings of the harasser and his mis-interpreted good intentions.

The most powerful thing Disney has going for it is its squeaky-clean brand.
Nobody wants to believe anything bad goes on at Disney.
Come on, folks, this is the real world not fairyland.
Very ugly things go on all the time at Disney and
one of them is misogynistic harassment.

And John Lasseter is not the only one. 
There are DOZENS more harassers still operating with impunity
at the studio, probably hundreds more in the overall animation 
culture that condones such behavior.

I'm hoping Disney women will find the courage to stand up for themselves 
or, not only will these unpleasant working conditions persist at Disney, 
but this clever ploy will embolden other companies to do the same 
and women everywhere will continue to suffer the indignities of 
harassment. The fact that no-one at Disney dares speak out 
and no-one anywhere else dares say anything, tells you 
how afraid people are of this powerful company.
Mickey smiles and smiles but carries a very big stick.




*
DISNEY, ANIMATION, LASSETER, HARASSMENT, BOYS' CLUB CULTURE, PIXAR



Saturday, October 28, 2017

TEN THINGS MEN CAN'T SAY ANYMORE (without sounding like a Neanderthal)




1) WHY DIDN’T SHE SAY SOMETHING SOONER? - The inference is that if she was blameless she would have spoken out immediately. Guys, what’s so hard to understand about the consequences of reporting harassement: getting fired, slandered, ostracized, sometimes
beaten up and even killed? 


2) IT WAS JUST A GOOD-NATURED/FRIENDLY PAT
Women are sovereign human beings not pets. Unlike cats you require permission to touch a woman.

3) SHE SHOULD BE FLATTERED
Why would a woman ever be flattered to be disrespected?
Do you really think women want to be assaulted?
Unwanted touching suggests that a woman 
is thought of as a resource, 
an amusing pleasure toy at men’s disposal. 
As in “wine, women and song.”

4) SHE'S CRAZY - When women fight back, they’re always called “crazy”. 
So, which is it: “Speak up sooner” or “She’s crazy” if she does.

5) I DIDN’T KNOW - Any man who’s ever had a girlfriend knows.

6) SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT - Admitting that you’re controlled by women’s behavior/clothing is embarrassing isn’t it?

7) IT WAS A JOKE - No it wasn’t. Jokes are funny.

8) I MEAN, ARE WE GOING TO BE SUED EVERY TIME WE WINK AT A WOMAN NOW?  Yes.

9) IT’S A WITCH HUNT. We hope so.

10) SMILE - Anyone who thinks he’s entitled to remark on or control 
women’s facial expressions is delusional.

*
HARASSMENT, SEXISM, CAT-CALLING, DISCRIMINATION,