In an internal email obtained by ABC News, Lasseter acknowledged that he recently had “a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me.”
He added that he hopes the time away will allow him to become “the leader you deserve.”
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He did not comment further.
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
Lasseter, 60, was named the chief creative officer of animation for the Walt Disney Co. in 2006 and is regularly listed as an executive producer on animated Disney films. He has several projects in the works; “Coco,” a film he executive-produced, hits theaters Wednesday.
“We are committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are respected and empowered to do their best work,” a spokesperson for Disney told ABC News in a statement. “We appreciate John’s candor and sincere apology and fully support his sabbatical.”
Disney is the parent company of ABC News.