Disney Backs Down in Tiff With LA Times

After critics groups, other media outlets threatened repercussions
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2017 12:14 PM CST
Updated Nov 7, 2017 4:41 PM CST
Critics Groups Blacklist Disney Films Over LA Times Tiff
Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Co. and Mickey Mouse attend ceremonies honoring Michael Eisner, former CEO, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles on April 25, 2008.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The Walt Disney Company backed down Tuesday and will once again grant film critics from the Los Angeles Times access to advanced press screenings after a number of news outlets—including the New York Times and AV Club—announced they would boycott screenings in solidarity, the New York Times reports. Disney cites "productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at the Los Angeles Times." Disney's fight with the Times began when the newspaper published a story about Disneyland's business ties to the city of Anaheim. Disney objected to the story and two followups, and in response, didn't invite the Times to advance screenings of its upcoming holiday releases. Disney says the Times' article was "unfair," "biased," and "inaccurate" and "showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards."

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics, and National Society of Film Critics had released a joint statement denouncing Disney for shutting out the Times, per the Hollywood Reporter. The statement from the critics groups called Disney's response to the story "antithetical to the principles of a free press" and said the company is setting a "dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists." The critics groups had threatened to not consider Disney films for its upcomng annual awards. Flavorwire and at least two critics for the Washington Post and the Boston Globe refused to attend press screenings, as well, per THR. Also on board with boycotting Disney was director Ava DuVernay, whose next film is Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, the Guardian reports. (More Disney stories.)

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