Disney Lifts LA Times Ban Following Backlash: Press 1, Disney 0
The Walt Disney Company has withdrawn its ban on the Los Angeles Times after its decision was met with uproar from the industry.
Disney has barred the publication from press screenings of its movies after The Times published a two-part investigative series on the company's business dealings in Anaheim, California, which is home to Walt Disney's original theme park, Disneyland.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Nov. 7, Disney said that it was restoring access to the LA-based publication to advance screenings of its films following "productive discussions with the newly installed leadership" at the Los Angeles Times regarding "specific concerns."
The statement comes days after the LA Times reported that its holiday season movie reviews section did not include Disney movies since the company had blocked its writers and editors from attending advance movie screenings as payback for the news outlets' coverage of its business operations in Anaheim.
Glenn Whipp, a writer employed with the LA Times, also took to Twitter to state that Disney's ban on the publication was also why a review of Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok was not published in the newspaper that day. Marvel Studios is also owned by The Walt Disney Company.
"This year, Walt Disney Co. studios declined to offer The Times advance screenings, citing what it called unfair coverage of its business ties with Anaheim," the LA Times said in a note. "The Times will continue to review and cover Disney movies and programs when they are available to the public."
Disney changed its mind after news outlets, including the New York Times and A.V. Club, announced their decision to boycott advance screenings of its films until the ban on the LA Times is lifted.
The company also came under fire from high-profile people from the industry, including Ava DuVernay, who helmed Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, which hits theaters on March 9, 2018. "Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another," DuVernay tweeted on Monday, Nov. 6. "Standing with you."
Four prominent critics groups; the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Boston Society of Film Critics also condemned Disney's blackout of the LA Times and voted to ban Disney movies from year-end awards consideration until it reversed its decision.
Disney's decision to reverse its ban seems logical as the studio has a number of films lined up for release in the coming months, including the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi.