Disney Ends LA Times Blackout After Backlash From Film Groups

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The Walt Disney Co. Tuesday lifted a ban it had imposed on Los Angeles Times film critics amid a growing backlash from film critics nationwide.

Disney last week said it was barring the Times from advance screenings of its films and access to its talent in response to a Times story regarding Disney’s tense relationship with the city of Anaheim.

“We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics,” Disney said in a statement to the New York Times.

On Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics issued it’s joint decision to bar Disney after editors of the Times said Friday that Disney denied the newspaper access to its upcoming slate of films over what it called “unfair coverage” of the Disneyland Resort’s relationship with the city of Anaheim. Upcoming Disney films include “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Coco” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The Times says it will review and cover Disney films when they become available to the public.

In a joint statement, the critics groups noted that it was “admittedly extraordinary” to “take any action that might penalize film artists for decisions beyond their control.”

“But Disney brought forth this action when it chose to punish The Times’ journalists rather than express its disagreement with a business story via ongoing public discussion,” the statement continued. “Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”

Some critics and organizations said they wouldn’t provide advance reviews of Disney films in protest of the company’s response to the Times.

Washington Post critic Alyssa Rosenberg wrote Monday that she would “show solidarity” with Times critics by seeing movies “under the same condition they do.” She added that she was speaking as an individual and “The Post has not taken a decision to participate in any boycott.” Two pop culture websites, the A.V. Club and Flavorwire, made similar announcements Monday. Flavorwire went a step further, stating it wouldn’t cover any Disney releases “as long as the Times ban stands.”

The company said Friday that a two-part Times series in September that detailed what it characterized as a complicated and increasingly tense relationship between Anaheim and the company showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” It added that the Times published a “biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda.”

Daniel Miller, the Times reporter who wrote the series, tweeted that “Disney never asked for a correction.” The newspaper declined further comment.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Los Angeles

facebook.com/CBSLA
Plan Your Trip
Follow Us On Twitter

Watch & Listen LIVE