Critics groups are banning Disney films from awards over the studio’s blackout of the L.A. Times

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“Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
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Disney

    Four film critic groups have denounced Walt Disney Studios and banned the studio from awards consideration following its media blackout on the Los Angeles Times. Disney prevented the Times staff from attending screenings of Disney films after the paper wrote critical coverage of Disney’s business dealings in Anaheim, California. A number of news outlets, and director Ava DuVernay, have announced that they will boycott Disney screenings until the Times ban is lifted.

Four of the most prominent film critic groups in the country have jointly denounced Walt Disney Studios and banned the studio from year-end awards consideration until it “publicly rescinds” a media blackout on the Los Angeles Times.

On November 3, the L.A. Times announced that its staff had been barred from attending advance screenings of Disney films in response to the paper’s critical news coverage of Disney’s business dealings in the city of Anaheim.

In response, 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 on Tuesday issued the following joint statement regarding Disney’s ban on the Times:

“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.”

A number of entertainment news outlets, including The A.V. Club and Flavorwire, and The Washington Post’s film critic-at-large have also announced that they will not attend Disney screenings until the Times ban is lifted.

On Monday, Ava DuVernay, the director of Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of “A Wrinkle In Time,” took to Twitter to say that she would stand in solidarity with the Post’s film critic, Alyssa Rosenberg, and all journalists who are boycotting Disney screenings.

With the exception of the its upcoming animated film, “Coco,” Disney is not expected to make a significant awards season push. The studio is set to release its latest blockbuster, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” on December 15.