The fallout from the Walt Disney Co.
decision to bar the Los Angeles Times, owned by Tronc
from advance screenings is now spilling over into awards season.
Four leading film-critics groups have stated they are disqualifying Disney films from being in contention for their end-of-year awards ceremonies. The move is being made in protest at Disney barring the L.A. Times from advance screenings of movies and interview opportunities with creative talent after the newspaper’s exposé of the tortuous financial and political relationship between Disneyland Resort and the city of Anaheim, which plays host to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
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 said in a joint statement that while it was “admittedly extraordinary” to take this action, “Disney’s response [to the L.A. Times] should gravely concern all those who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”
— NSFC (@NatSocFilmCrix) November 7, 2017
Given the movies affected by the ban include “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Thor: Ragnorak,” the move is unlikely to significantly change the composition of the nominations from the critics groups but the move is unprecedented.
Critics from outlets including The Washington Post, Flavorwire and the A.V. Club are scaling back their own advance Disney film coverage in solidarity with the L.A Times.
Filmmakers, commentators and critics, including “A Wrinkle in Time” director Ava DuVernay and CNN anchor Jake Tapper, have also weighed in on the dispute.
Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another. Standing with you. https://t.co/M9Fs22vv4L
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) November 7, 2017
I just took out a subscription to the @LATimes in honor of Disney boycotting the newspaper because it engaged in journalism. Join me!
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 6, 2017
I won’t attend advance screenings of Disney movies or publish advance reviews until @latimes critics can, too: https://t.co/RxdtD54THR
— Alyssa Rosenberg (@AlyssaRosenberg) November 6, 2017
Disney said in a previous statement that the L.A. Times’s coverage of Anaheim displayed “ a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards” and was “a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda.”