The Walt Disney Company moved to lift its media blackout on the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, following a rising backlash from film critics and other industry figures.
“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,” a Walt Disney Company spokesperson said in a statement obtained by EW.
The controversy began when Disney banned critics from the Los Angeles Times from attending early press screenings, citing “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards” in the outlet’s reporting on Disney’s business ties to the city of Anaheim, where Disneyland is located. A reporter for the Times also told IndieWire that TV reporters had been locked out of press websites.
Since then, 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 agreed to bar all Disney films from year-end awards considerations until the blackout on the Times had been lifted. That included Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, the live-action Beauty and the Beast, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Pixar’s Coco.
A joint statement from the groups called Disney’s action “a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists.”
The Toronto Film Critics Association also joined the boycott, while The New York Times, The Washington Post‘s Alyssa Rosenberg, The A.V. Club, and Flavorwire refused to attend press screenings for the studio’s releases. The movement was also bolstered by Ava DuVernay, who’s directing Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, and The Wire showrunner David Simon.
“Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another,” DuVernay tweeted on Monday.
“If journos being selectively barred, then I’ll play, too,” Simon said. “This award season, all Disney screeners dumped. No votes from me for their stuff.”