Rashida Jones Left Toy Story 4 Citing Pixar’s Gender & Race Inequality

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Adriana M. Barraza/

Pixar isn’t having a good week. After John Lasseter, the company’s co-founder, has taken a leave of absence following sexual assault accusations, now one of their upcoming movies is losing out on one of their writers. On Tuesday, Rashida Jones announced that she’s leaving Toy Story 4, along with writing partner Will McCormack, but it has nothing to do with the allegations against John. Instead, it has more to do with the culture she discovered exists at Pixar while working with the company.

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Shortly after the news broke that Rashida and Will would be leaving, The Hollywood Reporter initially claimed that John made an unwanted advance toward her, but now, we know that’s not true. Now, Rashida is clarifying the reason she decided to walk away from the gig, and it’s because Pixar has failed at creating an environment that promotes racial and gender equality.

In a new statement that Rashida and Will released to E! News late Tuesday night, Rashida explained that their decision was because of “creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences,” not because any assault had taken place.

They said:

There is so much talent at Pixar and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice, as in demonstrated by their director demographics: out of the 20 films in the company’s history only one was co-created by a woman and only one was directed by a person of color. We encourage Pixar to be the 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.

Writing a screenplay for a movie like this one is a huge opportunity, so it couldn’t have been easy for Rashida and Will to decide to step down. They are setting an awesome example of how this kind of inequality won’t be tolerated, though, and finding out facts like these is very jarring. Only one female co-creator and only one person to direct one of their movies wasn’t white? That’s not okay.

It’s unclear how Toy Story 4 will proceed without Rashida and Will — or if the film will still be able to meet its projected 2019 release date. We just hope that the stand that Rashida and Will are taking will send a clear message to Pixar about how important it is to treat women and people of color as equals. After all, the beloved films the studio has cranked out, we’d hate to see this pattern of behavior continue.