- Walt Disney Studios has decided to lift its media blackout of the Los Angeles Times. Major film critic groups denounced Disney and banned the studio from award show consideration until it publicly announced the reversal of its original decision.
“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,” Disney said in a statement.
Disney’s original blackout followed the Times’ publication of a two-part investigative series that explored Disney’s Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks’ business ties with Anaheim.
Major film critic groups, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, denounced Disney’s blackout and banned the studio from award show consideration until it publicly announced a reversal of its decision.
The Washington Post, The New York Times, the A.V. Club, and others also announced they would be boycotting screenings of Disney films, until the studio lifted its blackout.
“A powerful company punishing a news organization for a story they do not like is meant to have a chilling effect. This is a dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest,” The New York Times said in a statement to Variety.
Even some on Disney’s payroll were not happy. Ava DuVernay, who is directing the film adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” for Disney, spoke out against the media blackout, and tweeted that she would be “standing with” the Los Angeles Times.