In a move that has taken everyone by surprise, Disney's Chief Creative Officer and Principal Creative Advisor has announced his resignation. The following press release is John Lassiter's letter to Bob Iger:
It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chief Creative Officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.
When I took over my various roles as Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar AND Disney, and Principal Creative Advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering, it was with the belief that this would be the limit of my duties. Since your greed inspired you to purchase Marvel, however, I find myself at the limit of my ability to do my jobs at the level that people expect of me. I'm not Superman. Last night while looking over the plans for Radiator Springs Racers, I found myself thinking, 'Hey, we could put 'The Thing' in this rocky area here…' We're Disney, Bob. We don't work with superheroes. You want superheroes? Why don't we make an 'Incredibles' ride, and replace that tired old Indiana Jones Adventure? At least with Incredibles, we don't have to wrangle for the copyrights with Universal in Orlando.
You well know that you and I have had serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management in the Disney Corporation in recent years. For whatever reason, you have driven a wedge between me and those I work with, even to the extent of requiring some of my associates to report just what my daily attire is back to you. I find this intolerable. What do you have against my Hawaiian shirts? And why does no one stop Ranft from teasing me about my receding hairline?
I believe your conduct has resulted from my clear and unambiguous statements to you and to the Board of Directors that you are no longer the best person to run the Walt Disney Company. Like your predecessors, your interests in Disney have become financially based, as evident in your purchase of Marvel. Disney was founded on creativity and imagination, which you seem to have forgotten. With you at the helm, Disney has lost its focus, its creative energy, and its heritage.
As I have said, and as has been documented in letters to you and other members of the Board, this Company, under your leadership has failed during the last several years in many ways. My primary concerns are as follows:
1. I'm concerned that the operations of Marvel will be taking time, energy, and focus away from the Imagineers at a time when more attention should be given to promoting Pixar within the parks.
2. I'm unhappy with your consistent micro-management of everyone around you, which has resulted in loss of morale throughout this Company.
3. I'm sick of the complaints on the Internet about all the Pixar stuff in the parks. Why aren't they complaining about all the Tim Burton crap too?
4. I'm fed up with the belief -- shared by all of our consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers -- that the Company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the "quick buck" rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.
5. I am outraged that the Disneyland Dream Suite will no longer be available for my stays at the park, and will instead be converted into a Princess meet-and-greet.
6. I'm insulted by your memo stating that Hawaiian wear "wasn't corporate enough" and "doesn't comply with the Disney look."
7. Last, and most importantly, I'm hurt and bewildered by your consistent refusal to put Hayao on the payroll, just for being the coolest guy working in film. We steal from his movies often enough.
I have and will always have an enormous allegiance to and respect for this Company, despite our unfortunate interactions in 1983 and 2004. I don't know if you and other directors can comprehend how painful it is for me and for my family to arrive at this decision. However, it is clear that my future lies in winemaking, and with this letter I am privileged to announce the opening of the Lasseter Museum of Wine Label Art, which will be located in my family's vineyard in Napa, California.
In accordance with Item 6 of Form 8-K and Item 7 of Schedule 14A, I request that you disclose this letter and that you file a copy of this letter as an exhibit to a Company Form 8-K.
As a footnote I would like to add that if you believe that any of this is real, I have a bridge in San Francisco to sell you. April Fools. J