Disney Ends Blackout of LA Times Critics After Public Backlash

Celebrities Help Open New Fantasyland At Walt Disney World

Disney will no longer ban the Los Angeles Times from advance screenings of its movies following a backlash from critics groups, news outlets and journalists, who were boycotting those same screenings in protest. "This is a risky precedent and not at all in the public interest".

The Times ran an exposé on Disney and the Anaheim economy that let to the House of Mouse banning the paper from attending preview screenings of its movies.

The board of the Toronto Film Critics Association also issued a statement, saying, "The Television Critics Association understands that screeners and coverage opportunities are a privilege and not a right, but we condemn any circumstance in which a company takes punitive action against journalists for doing their jobs".

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics issued a joint statement Tuesday morning denouncing Disney's "media blackout" of the LA Times, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This announcement came after outlets across the country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the A.V. Club called for a boycott of reviewing Disney films, citing solidarity with The L.A. Times. 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 concluded, "Disney's response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included".

The New York Film Critics Circle will vote on its annual awards on November 30.

The Disney studio banned the Los Angeles Times from access to its screenings and talent last week, calling the 136-year-old publication's coverage "biased and inaccurate".

Meanwhile, the Television Critics Association, which also gives out awards (and now is chaired by THR TV critic Daniel Fienberg), issued a statement on Tuesday denouncing Disney for taking "punitive action against journalists for doing their jobs", but not declaring any retaliatory plans.

Studios commonly offer these screenings so critics have time to write their reviews at least a day before a movie debuts, allowing readers to read the reviews before deciding whether to see a movie on its opening night.

The two-part LA Times investigative report examined the company's relationship and impact on the California city where Disneyland theme park is located. We've had a long relationship with the L.A. Times. In addition to the just-released Thor: Ragnorok, the entertainment giant also has Star Wars: The Last Jedi still to come, as well as a string of hits released in 2017, including the live-action Beauty and the Beast, Cars 3, and Coco.

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