Disney Ends LA Times Ban

Few days earlier, LA Times revealed that Disney has banned the publication from advanced screenings of any of the studio’s movies after LA Times ran a report on Disney’s business practices. However, after Disney’s move attracted a lot of criticisms, the company has lifted the ban of LA Times.

At the time of the ban, Disney issued an official statement. It said, “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.”

Understandably, the move attracted a lot of criticisms from other journalists and critics associations. Moreover, members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics disqualified from the studio from year-end awards consideration. At the time, the critics groups revealed that they will change their decisions only if Disney ends their ban publicly.

The groups released a full statement saying, “The members of 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 denounce the Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the Los Angeles Times. Furthermore, all four critics’ organizations have voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until said blackout is publicly rescinded. On Nov. 3, The Times published a statement that its writers and editors had been blocked from attending advance screenings of Disney films, in response to The Times’ news coverage of Disney’s business arrangements with the City of Anaheim. Disney’s actions, which include an indefinite ban on any interaction with The Times, are antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists. It is admittedly extraordinary for a critics’ group, let alone four critics’ groups, 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. 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 Thursday, Nov. 30; the Los Angeles Film Critics Association will vote Sunday, Dec. 3; the Boston Society of Film Critics will vote Sunday, Dec. 10; and the National Society of Film Critics will vote Saturday, Jan. 6.”

After Disney removed the ban from the publication, LA Times has thanked other publications to stand behind them.

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