Acclaimed Disney and Pixar director John Lasseter is taking a leave of absence from the companies due to “missteps” in the workplace, according to a memo he sent to employees Tuesday.
The memo, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, came in the face of a story the outlet was preparing to publish detailing misconduct allegations against Lasseter that include “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s story has since published on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me,” Lasseter wrote to staff. “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,” Lasseter added. “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.”
Lasseter wrote that he plans to take a six-month sabbatical from Disney. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TIME.
The Toy Story director, who now serves as chief creative officer for both Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios, is the latest Hollywood figure to be accused of misconduct in the wake of last month’s sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein.
TIME has reached out to Disney and Pixar for comment and will update this story with any response.
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