Disney Ends LA Times Ban After Film Critics Threaten Boycott

By Christine Zosche 

Disney on Tuesday reversed its decision barring Los Angeles Times critics from press screenings because of what the entertainment company had called “unfair coverage” of its business ties. The turnaround followed mounting backlash from journalists across the industry who described the ban as an attack on the free press. (HuffPost)

Five critics groups had blasted the Disney’s media blackout of the LA Times and pledged to disqualify Disney’s films from awards consideration until the blackout was lifted. 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 jointly issued the statement Tuesday morning. The Toronto Film Critics Association joined the boycott on Tuesday as well. (Variety)

The New York Times also announced its critics would not attend advance film screenings until access was restored to the LA Times. The Washington Post‘s pop culture critic Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a column explaining why she planned to skip Disney screenings to show solidarity with the LA Times’ film reviewers. (Deadline)

Two other outlets, AV Club and Flavorwire, followed suit not long after. (Mashable)

It all started when Disney decided to punish the LA Times for publishing an investigative piece on the company’s ties to Anaheim’s local economy. The column suggested Disney benefits greatly from sweetheart deals handed out by local politicians but, at the same time, noted that the company is the city’s largest philanthropic benefactor. Disney reacted by banning the newspaper from attending advance screenings of its films and even blocking reporters from press websites. (Mediaite)