Disney ends LA Times ban after widespread backlash

NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday lifted its ban of Los Angeles Times reporters and critics from its press screenings after a widespread backlash prompted several media outlets to announce their own boycotts of Disney movies.

 

In a statement Tuesday, Disney said it was restoring access to the newspaper after “productive discussions with the newly installed leadership” at the Los Angeles Times. Disney had barred the Times from its screenings after the paper published a two-part investigative series on the company’s business dealings in Anaheim, Calif., where Disneyland is.

The ban’s withdrawal Tuesday ended an unusual clash between Hollywood’s arguably most powerful studio and the media outlets that regularly write about its movies.

Disney’s punitive measures against the Times led to many outlets refusing advance coverage of the studio’s films, including The New York Times, the Boston Globe and The A.V. Club. Four prominent film critics groups announced Tuesday they would bar Disney films from receiving awards consideration

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 all said they wouldn’t consider Disney films for their year-end awards. The critics groups noted it was “admittedly extraordinary” to “take any action that might penalize film artists for decisions beyond their control.”

Disney on Friday said the Times series in September detailing what it characterized as a complicated and increasingly tense relationship between Anaheim and the company showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” It added the Times published a “biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda.”

Daniel Miller, the Times reporter who wrote the series, tweeted “Disney never asked for a correction.”

With the ban concluded, critics said they would return to business as usual.

 

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