Many Pixar movies use faux outtakes to go alongside the ending credits, but the scene that was silently deleted from Toy Story 2, originally released in 1999, featured the character Stinky Pete the Prospector — a small, bearded toy — talking to two Barbie dolls.
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Stinky Pete the Prospector (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) strokes their hands and suggests he can get them parts in the next Toy Story movie until he notices he’s being filmed.
He then becomes flustered and escorts the two Barbie dolls out of the box.
(The scene appears around the 3:40 mark.)
In light of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the scene can be viewed as problematic.
Last June, the largest U.S. actors’ union and four major television networks agreed to limit auditions in private hotel rooms and homes, ratifying a guideline the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) had enacted on its own following the #MeToo uproar.
SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said at the time that the goal was to eliminate the potential for “predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting.”
The so-called casting couch refers to the practice of men in positions of power seeking sexual favours from actors or actresses in exchange for parts.
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The measures followed industry outrage after news reports surfaced that numerous women had accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Weinstein has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
The removal of the scene comes after John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, announced he would take a formal leave of absence from his position. Lasseter directed Toy Story 2.
The executive added: “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.”
A Disney spokesperson released a statement supporting Lasseter’s decision to take a leave of absence.
“We are committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are respected and empowered to do their best work. We appreciate John’s candour and sincere apology and fully support his sabbatical,” the statement read.
Soon after Lasseter’s memo went public, The Hollywood Reporter published allegations of misconduct against the Pixar co-founder.
THR reported that it had spoken to multiple sources at Pixar and in the animation community about Lasseter’s alleged behaviour but that those sources had asked not to be named out of fear their careers in the animation industry would be damaged.
The same report alleged that Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack exited their roles on Toy Story 4 because of alleged sexual harassment by Lasseter.
“The breakneck speed at which journalists have been naming the next perpetrator renders some reporting irresponsible,” Jones and McCormack’s statement began.
“We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue,” they said. “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. However, it is also a culture where women and people of colour do not have an equal creative voice.”
Jones and McCormack called on 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.”
As of this writing, aside from the earlier statement, Lasseter has not publicly addressed the accusations.
Toy Story 4 easily topped box office charts when it was released on June 21. The fourth entry in Pixar’s animated series collected $118 million in ticket sales when it debuted in 4,575 North American theatres.
Overseas, Toy Story 4 picked up $120 million from 37 international territories for its global start of $238 million during its opening weekend.
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Directed by Josh Cooley, Toy Story 4 reunites Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) with a band of plastic heroes. New to the gang is Forky, an anxiety-ridden spork voiced by Tony Hale, who helps teach them what it means to be a toy.
The story was written by Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes and Lasseter.
Global News has reached out to Disney for comment.
—With files from ReutersFollow @KatieScottNews
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