Pixar and being lectured by our Bay Area superiors

I know someone who works at Pixar. He is a reliable source of confident lectures on the moral superiority of Democrats, Californians, liberals, immigrants, bigger government. He is also a reliable source of confident denunciations of Republicans as sexist, racist, and stupid. Donald Trump, needless to say, is an affront to everything that is righteous by Bay Area standards.

“How Pixar’s Open Sexism Ruined My Dream Job” (Variety) thus caught my eye:

At Pixar, my female-ness 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.

It was devastating to learn, right from the start, that women were open targets for disrespect and harassment –– even at a world-renowned workplace in the most liberal-leaning city in the country. I was likewise told to steer clear of a particularly chauvinistic male lead in my department. Much like John, this man’s female targets had been reporting his vulgar, unprofessional behaviors for years, but his position and demeanor remained much the same.

I had my first uncomfortable encounter with this department head in a company kitchen, just two weeks into my internship. He cornered me with sexual comments while openly leering at my body.

Cassandra Smolcic is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer. She worked at Pixar from 2009 to 2014.

Maybe correct-thinkers in “the most liberal-leaning city in the country” do actually treat women in the workplace better? That’s because women are treated so much worse in states that voted for Trump? But how would folks in the Bay Area know since they never visit such places?

I emailed my source within Pixar to find out how it was possible for people at the company to have been simultaneously sanctimonious about Trump voters and running a workplace that was hostile to women. His response was that Pixar was recently woke. Things would be different and better going forward and, in fact, had already improved.


But that leaves us with things being pretty bad still in 2016, when Pixar employees joined with the rest of the Bay Area in jeering at Deplorables.

So… how can Bay Area folks talk about how much progress they’ve made in enabling women to work in their offices, something that became common nationwide roughly 100 years ago during World War I, while also sanctimoniously strutting about how much better their political philosophy is for the “vulnerable,” such as women? Where is their evidence that women in Deplorable-run enterprises faced more hostility than women at virtuously managed Pixar? Or than women interviewing for roles with Hillary Clinton-supporter Harvey Weinstein?

15 thoughts on “Pixar and being lectured by our Bay Area superiors

  1. The instapundit has kind of a running joke about this:
    I get the idea that his working theory is that wokeness is kind of shameful reaction to awfulness, on both a personal and institutional level. If Anthony Weiner is kind of a d-bag, can you imagine how terrible all the Republicans must secretly be?

  2. Phil G: This virtuous person may be suffering from the anchovy pizza fallacy. The anchovy pizza fallacy is when someone who prefers anchovies on their pizza attends a pizza party and all of the pizzas are cheese and pepperoni and they assume that it is a result of people being hostile to them or discriminating against them. Certain virtuous groups feel entitled not just to a slice of anchovy pizza as an accommodation, but for the entire pizza party to be anchovy pizza as an accommodation.

  3. “I declare myself woke! shut up you, with your uncouth questions”. If I could be bothered I would get one of those memes where Darth Wader grabs a guy by the neck and hisses something on the lines ‘I find your lack of faith disturbing’.

  4. That place hasn’t made any original content since Wall-E. The biggest impediment to promotions is Pixar.

  5. John Lasseter had to leave for unspecified sexual misconduct. He is also the creative genius who made Steve Jobs rich, and Pixar the powerhouse that it is today, not unlike Harvey Weinstein at Miramax.

  6. Cassandra Smolcic is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer. She worked at Pixar from 2009 to 2014.

    So, she’s unemployed. After five years, she decided that corporate America was too grinding for her. Anyway, when a writer writes a sympathetic story about herself she (a) has nothing else interesting to write about and (b) it’s mostly made up.

  7. How about the inevitable clash from forcing two incompatible cultures together while sanctimoniously pushing for more immigrants and more feminists? In my tech workplace experience, the most deplorable behaviour towards women came from the men who most recently immigranted from cultures with a 1000 years of chauvinism. Many of these men really, really didn’t like working female managers or having female peers review their work.

  8. BTW, if your friend was at Pixar before it got woke, is your friend part of the problem? can we have at least some Mao-style public self criticism?

  9. Federico: He fell on his sword and admitted his (passive) role in the harm done (up until the past 1-2 years) just like a Hollywood portrayal of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting participant. I was worried about cutting and pasting from his email, though, for fear that his corporate overlords would dig through their email server to search for the text in question. He was at pains to point out the moral and artistic superiority of this woman in particular and of women in general. (If true, why wouldn’t there have been a mostly-female or all-female competitor to Pixar started up 15 years ago that crushed the company in the marketplace?)

    He is a better person now, by his own admission, and it is a way better company now. That still leaves us with the question from the original post. If men at Pixar were bad back in 2016 why were they out lecturing Trump voters on their moral and intellectual inferiority?

  10. Not that I know anything about anything at Pixar, but the company was saved by childbirth.

    When someone inadvertently deleted just about all of Toy Story 2, and then the backups were found to be faulty, a fairly recent copy of the whole movie directory was on a workstation at one of the tech director’s house. They had copied it so she could work from home after giving birth to a baby.

    See Catmull’s “Curiosity, Inc.” among other places. The book also made me a bit more sympathetic to Steve Jobs.

  11. Here is a photo of Cassandra from her own personal web page:


    Apparently part of the shtick of modern young women is to dress (or not dress) in a very sexually provocative way (presumably in order to attract attention from men who they are interested in attracting) and then complain and start lawsuits when any other men (men that they are NOT interested in) notice. They are sort of latter day Lady Godivas – the rest of us are supposed to avert our gazes or be struck blind like Peeping Tom.

    There is a sort of paradox here in that modern females are not supposed to receive UNWANTED attention but men have no way of knowing whether attention is UNWANTED (females still don’t take the lead in approaching men) until they try. The price you have to pay for giving unwanted attention keeps getting raised to the point where most men won’t even try anymore. Buy stock in cat food companies.

  12. I think we misunderstand the purpose of ostentatious liberalism. “Lectures on the moral superiority of Democrats, Californians, liberals, immigrants, bigger government”, etc. are not the result of sincerely held beliefs. Rather they are akin to medieval indulgences. By loudly proclaiming the official theology of our state religion, the proclaimer expects to accrue credit against his transgressions elsewhere. Or put another way, his lectures and posturing are a form of insurance against a visit from the Witchfinder General. So the more of this lecturing and posturing that they do, the more they probably have to be ashamed of. Psychologically, they project this shame onto The Other (the Deplorables in this case). Harvey Weinstein was the exemplar, but much more garden variety examples are very common.

    On a separate note, Cassandra Smolcic says she “had my first uncomfortable encounter with this department head in a company kitchen, just two weeks into my internship”, yet she decided to make the next five years of her career there. So she already knew she hated the place, but just couldn’t stay away. This is like the career version of that one abusive boyfriend a silly dame just keeps going back to. Eventually one wonders if the real problem isn’t a sense of entitlement coupled with a lack of alternatives.

  13. First of all, I gotta say that Lassiter’s supposed ‘misdeeds’ sound pretty minor to me. I’ve worked with ‘touchy-feely’ people who liked to give out hugs – no problem. Nowhere as bad as Harvey Weinstein. Not even in the same class. Pixar/Disney has shot themselves in the foot here.

    Sounds to me that as soon as JL’s non-compete expires, there will be another animation studio founded in the northern SF bay.

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