Pixar's culture of 'mistreating women' exposed

    Pixar's culture of 'mistreating women' exposed

    A former Pixar employee has claimed the firm’s toxic culture gave men a “license to mistreat women and side-line their careers.”

    Writing in Vanity, former graphic designer Cassandra Smolcic says that being a woman at the company was “an undeniable impediment to my value, professional mobility, and sense of security within the company.”

    “The stress of working amidst such a blatantly sexist atmosphere took its toll and was a major factor in forcing me out of the industry,” she added.

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    The scathing column follows news earlier this month that the Founder of Pixar, John Lasseter, would be leaving at the end of the year. He had been accused of inappropriate workplace behaviour with his employees, which included "grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes," according to Hollywood reporter.

    “Just after starting on ‘Cars 2,’ [a Pixar film released in 2011] I was told by a superior that I would be uninvited from all our weekly art department meetings because Lasseter ‘has a hard time controlling himself’ around young women,” Smolcic wrote.

    “I was crushed to have my participation in the filmmaking process – and subsequently my career trajectory – thwarted simply because I was female."

    “It was clear that the institution was working hard to protect him, at the expense of women like me.”

    How to prevent a culture from becoming toxic:

    It’s obvious that Pixar’s culture had been seriously damaged, with nobody willing to stand up against the firm’s founder. If you believe a culture of sexism is brewing in your workplace, you must act immediately.

    Call out toxic behaviour

    Wherever you see it, you must draw attention to it. Making excuses for sexism at work will only encourage the behaviour to continue and get worse. Have zero tolerance for it – make sure action is taken and the right people are informed.

    Allow women to be heard

    A common complaint is that women get spoken over, especially in group meetings. If you see that happening, politely ask the interrupter to be quiet for a moment so the interrupted individual can finish. If you notice someone is repeating something a woman has already said, allow her to have another comment on it: “Thank you, Sam – that sounds a lot like Melissa’s idea. Is that right, Melissa?”

    Have policies in place

    Plan now what you will do when a problem arises, rather than trying to make up a policy on the spot when you are confronted with it. This will help you to see a prescribed course of action and be able to act quickly and fairly.

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