Los Angeles Times

Will animation legend John Lasseter return to Disney-Pixar after a six-month leave?

Does John Lasseter still have a friend in Disney?

The Pixar Animation Studios executive who took a six-month leave of absence in November will soon know the answer when his corporate bosses decide whether he will return after he admitted to inappropriate workplace hugging and other "missteps."

Walt Disney Co., which acquired Pixar in 2006, is expected to render its verdict on Lasseter in the next few weeks. Some in the industry believe it would be unlikely for Lasseter to resume his roles as chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios given the current climate in Hollywood, where tensions are still high after sexual harassment scandals toppled several entertainment and media figures.

For Disney leaders, the Lasseter situation represents an exceptionally thorny dilemma. In many ways, Lasseter is synonymous with Pixar and is credited with having transformed the Emeryville, Calif., studio into a digital animation juggernaut. Under his creative leadership, the studio pumped out box-office

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