Pixar co-founder John Lasseter takes leave amid sexual misconduct allegations: A list of others accused

Among the list of those in the entertainment industry accused with sexual advances are (from left) Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

This article was first published on Nov 11, 2017, and was updated on Nov 23, 2017.

LOS ANGELES - Animation giant John Lasseter, who heads animation at both Disney and Pixar, took a leave of absence this week after "missteps" that made some employees feel "disrespected or uncomfortable".

Shortly after his announcement, The Hollywood Reporter reported accusations of him grabbing and kissing co-workers and making comments about their physical attributes.

Lasseter, 60, is the latest in a growing list of men in the entertainment industry who are accused of sexual misconduct.

The Los Angeles County district attorney had announced the establishment of a task force on Nov 9, to investigate allegations of sexual assault in the entertainment industry.

The New York Times and The New Yorker published articles on allegations that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had a decades-long history of sexual harassment and rape, prompting scores more women to speak out about his behaviour and that of others in the entertainment industry.

Allegations have since emerged against House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey, director James Toback, comedian Louis C.K. and others.

Here is a list of some of the accused.

1. John Lasseter

John Lasseter and his wife, Nancy, at the premiere of Cars 3. PHOTO: REUTERS

One of the Walt Disney Co's most important executives, Pixar co-founder John Lasseter, said earlier this week that he will be taking a six-month sabbatical and apologised for "missteps" that made people feel uncomfortable.

After making the announcement in a lengthy e-mail sent on Tuesday to employees at Disney's animation division, which he leads as chief creative officer, The Hollywood Reporter reported instances of him grabbing, kissing and making comments about his co-workers' physical attributes.

Other women, who asked not to be identified out of concern that their careers would be affected, told the publication they struggled to keep his hands off their legs.

"I especially want to apologise 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," Lasseter wrote in his memo. "No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected."

Disney said in a statement it is 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 company said.

2. Charlie Rose

A file photo of Charlie Rose receiving the Peabody Award for his work in One On One With Assad, on May 19, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

The veteran television host, 74, was suspended by CBS News following a report that he sexually harassed eight women who worked on his talk show.

These included lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.

CBS News issued a brief statement on Monday (Nov 20) saying he was suspended while the company looked into the matter, Los Angeles Times reported.

Rose, whose show airs on PBS, also co-hosts "CBS This Morning" and is a contributing correspondent for "60 Minutes."

3. Harvey Weinstein

The saga surrounding disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sparked a series of allegations. PHOTO: AFP

Several women have come forward to claim that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted them - including rape, unwanted oral sex and full sex.

Weinstein denies all charges, according to a statement from his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister, circulated among US media.

Prominent women who have pointed the finger at Weinstein include actresses Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

Weinstein was fired by Miramax and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His publicist has issued a statement saying "any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein".

4. Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey has fallen from grace and has been axed from popular series House Of Cards, among other productions. PHOTO: AFP

Kevin Spacey has been dropped from Netflix, cut from director Ridley Scott's movie All The Money In The World, and shunned in the industry after he was hit by sexual assault allegations following the Weinstein scandal.

The allegations began when actor Anthony Rapp came forward to accuse the Oscar-winning actor of sexual misconduct 31 years ago.

Since then, others have come forward, including Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who appeared in productions at London's Old Vic theatre when Spacey was artistic director between 2004 and 2015.

He accused the star of harassment on Facebook.

British barman Daniel Beal accused Spacey of exposing himself in front of him in 2010 and then giving him an expensive watch to keep quiet.

5. James Toback

Director James Toback has been accused of sexual harassment. PHOTO: AFP

The director of Bugsy and other films has been accused of sexually harassing dozens of women, many of whom he would approach on the street and offer movie roles.

Thirty-eight women told the Los Angeles Times of awkward or humiliating encounters with Toback, including times when he rubbed his crotch against them or masturbated. Since the report, dozens of other women have come forward with stories of similar behaviour by the 72-year-old Toback, whose film credits also include The Pick-up Artist and Two Girls And A Guy.

Toback denied the allegations to the Times and claimed that because of poor health it was "biologically impossible" for him for the past 22 years to have committed the acts of which he is being accused.

Police in New York and Los Angeles said they were investigating multiple complaints against Toback following publication of the Los Angeles Times story.

The newspaper said that after its report it had received emails and phone calls from more than 200 additional women with stories about Toback.

6. Louis C.K.

The comedian has admitted to masturbating in front of women. PHOTO: REUTERS

Comedian Louis C. K. admitted on Friday (Nov 10) to engaging in sexual misconduct as recounted by several women, three of whom said he had masturbated in front of them, and television and film companies moved quickly to sever ties.

"These stories are true," C. K. said in a statement. Five women detailed incidents of sexually inappropriate behaviour by the Emmy-winning comedian dating back 15 years in a New York Times report published on Thursday.

C.K. released a statement acknowledging the encounters in question after his upcoming film I Love You Daddy was scrapped for release on Friday, and Netflix Inc cancelled a planned comedy special with the comedian because of the allegations.

Cable television network FX, a unit of 21st Century Fox, also severed its ties with C.K., and Time Warner's TBS network said it was suspending production on an upcoming animated comedy The Cops, which C.K. co-created and was due to star in.

7. Brett Ratner

The X-Men: The Last Stand director has rejected the accusations. PHOTO: REUTERS

Actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn and four other women told the Los Angeles Times they had been the victims of sexual misconduct or harassment by Ratner, director of Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand.

Ratner, 48, rejected the accusations and filed a defamation suit against a woman who separately made allegations against him in a Facebook post. Henstridge told the Times she was a 19-year-old fashion model in New York in the early 1990s when Ratner, then a music video director in his early 20s, forced her to perform oral sex.

Henstridge said she was inspired to come forward by the women who reported sexual misconduct by Weinstein and Toback.

Munn, who has appeared in the HBO show The Newsroom and the movie Magic Mike, told the Times that Ratner had masturbated in front of her when she was an aspiring actress on the set of the movie After The Sunset.

Four other women also recounted stories to the newspaper about Ratner being sexually inappropriate or intimidating. Ratner, through his attorney, Martin Singer, rejected the accounts.

"I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment," Singer said.

8. Benny Medina

Music and TV mogul Benny Medina has been accused of rape. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Actor Jason Dottley alleged on Nov 10 that music and TV mogul Benny Medina - known for managing A-listers such as Jennifer Lopez - attempted to rape him nine years ago.

Dottley, 36, alleged that Medina tried to rape him in December 2008 after he and a friend were invited to the mogul's Los Angeles home.

After his friend went for a swim, leaving the two men alone, Medina threw him on the bed and "stuck his tongue down my mouth", Dottley told The Advocate magazine. As Dottley resisted, Medina became more aggressive, he said, recounting how he broke down and begged the producer to stop.

"His forearm was bearing down on my neck so hard that I don't know how much longer I would have remained conscious," Dottley recalled. The attack ended when Dottley's friend walked in on the pair, he said.

Medina's attorneys, Howard Weitzman and Shawn Holley, issued a statement to People magazine, saying: "Benny Medina categorically denies the allegation of attempted rape."

SOURCES: AFP, Bloomberg, NYTIMES, Reuters

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