How film critics and the L.A. Times beat Disney

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It took just a few days for enough criticism to mount to break Disney’s resolve in its stand off with Los Angeles Times journalists. 

It began Nov. 3, when Walt Disney Co. announced it would no longer allow reporters and film critics from the paper to attend press screenings of its films.

At the time, Disney explained the move in a statement, saying the Times had disregarded “basic journalistic standards” in its recent reporting on the relationship between Disneyland and the city of Anaheim. 

The story, published late September, revealed tax breaks given to the film production giant and political campaign contributions to city electoral campaigns. 

Over the following days, film critics associations from across the United States announced they would stand in solidarity with L.A. Times reporters, and would refuse to consider any Disney films for their annual awards.

‘Importance of free press’

The film associations, including 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 released a joint statement early Tuesday saying the move by Disney “should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.” 

The Toronto Film Critics Association voted Tuesday to join what it called an “international protest” and called on Disney to lift the ban on L.A. Times reporters. 

The New York Times and the A.V. Club also refused to cover the studio’s films until Disney allowed Times reporters back into screenings. 

Even producer Ava DuVernay, who is behind the upcoming Disney film A Wrinkle in Time tweeted her support of journalists. 

By Tuesday afternoon, Disney had lifted its ban. In a statement the studio said it had “productive discussions with the newly installed leadership” at the newspaper.

A Disney spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

SOURCE: CBC.ca

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