Disney Ends Ban on LA Times Following Backlash and Boycott
That was extremely fast. Disney has officially ended a ban placed on the Los Angeles Times following the paper’s three-part story investigating the corporation’s business dealings in Anaheim (home to Disneyland parks). The company announced the decision this afternoon after the New York Times joined the LA Times in their boycott of Disney films, and several prominent critics groups voted to disqualify the studio’s movies from awards eligibility until they publicly revoked the ban.
Via the New York Times, Disney released an official statement that reads, “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.”
Last week, the LA Times revealed that Disney had effectively blacklisted the publication, refusing access to press screenings of new and upcoming films (including Thor: Ragnarok) over what the company called “unfair coverage” relating to a three-part story on their business dealings in Anaheim. Despite seemingly never reaching out to the Times for corrections, Disney declined to participate in the paper’s annual holiday movie preview feature and revoked access to press screenings, as well as the company’s press site.
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 released a joint statement via LAFCA president Claudia Puig, calling Disney’s decision “antithetical to the principles of a free press,” adding that it “set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists.” The groups voted to disqualify the studio’s films from awards eligibility — a move that could impact films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast. The Television Critics Association joined the boycott shortly after.
Ava DuVernay, the director of Disney’s upcoming blockbuster adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, tweeted her support to the journalists boycotting the studio’s films. “Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another,” DuVernay tweeted. “Standing with you.”
This afternoon, the New York Times released an official statement announcing that they, too, would boycott Disney films. Within an hour, Disney publicly rescinded the ban.