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Phil Knight’s land grab

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I’m shocked that your story regarding Phil Knight’s takeover of Will Vinton Studios [THE WONDERLAND OF LAIKA, July] would summarize nearly 30 years of work on the part of Will Vinton and his colleges with such platitude. Vinton built a company that led the industry in its innovative approach to animation and storytelling, a company that brought Hollywood’s attention to Portland. Phil Knight’s effort has been little more than a land grab, taking as much as he can as quickly as he can in the hopes that people will look at his expensive new campus and his impressive company masthead and forget about the fact that he pulled the rug out from under the people who actually built the reputation on which his “studio” now stands.

I’m also disappointed your article didn’t mention that Knight’s attention was drawn to animation after his son, Travis, who by all accounts was floating through life without purpose or direction, was given a job by Will Vinton immediately after Knight’s initial cash investment in the company. I can’t say I’m at all surprised by the fact that Travis “is transitioning into more of a management role and holds a seat on the studio’s board of directors.”

Call me crazy, but it looks like Knight, with his $21 billion and all the lawyers that he can employ, decided to buy his son an animation studio. Too bad for Vinton he decided to take over the one closest to home.

Henry Pibb
Freelance writer, Los Angeles


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