Film critics bar Disney over LA Times spat

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LOS ANGELES — 4 outstanding movie critics teams introduced Tuesday that they’ll bar Walt Disney Co. movies from receiving awards consideration till the corporate reverses its choice to bar the Los Angeles Occasions from advance screenings of its movies and entry to its expertise.

The transfer by the Los Angeles Movie Critics Affiliation, the New York Movie Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Movie Critics and the Nationwide Society of Movie Critics comes after editors of the Occasions stated Friday that Disney denied the newspaper entry to its upcoming slate of movies over what it referred to as “unfair protection” of the Disneyland Resort’s relationship with the town of Anaheim. Upcoming Disney movies embrace “Thor: Ragnarok,” ?Coco” and “Star Wars: The Final Jedi.” The Occasions says it’ll assessment and canopy Disney movies once they turn out to be obtainable to the general public.

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In a joint statement released early Tuesday, the critics groups noted that it was “admittedly extraordinary” 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,” the statement continued. “Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”

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

The statement comes after some critics and organizations said they wouldn’t provide advance reviews of Disney films in protest of the company’s response to the Times.

Also Tuesday, the executive board of the Television Critics Association, a group of more than 200 print and online journalists who cover TV, rebuked Disney’s move.

The association “understands that screeners and coverage opportunities are a privilege and not a right, but we condemn any circumstance in which a company takes punitive action against journalists for doing their jobs,” the board said in a statement.

Washington Post critic-at-large Alyssa Rosenberg wrote Monday that she would “show solidarity” with Times critics by seeing movies “under the same condition they do.” She added that she was speaking as an individual and “The Post has not taken a decision to participate in any boycott.” Two pop culture websites, the A.V. Club and Flavorwire, made similar announcements Monday. Flavorwire went a step further, stating it wouldn’t cover any Disney releases “as long as the Times ban stands.”

The company said Friday that a two-part Times series in September that detailed what it characterized as a complicated and increasingly tense relationship between Anaheim and the company showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” It added that the Times published a “biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda.”
Daniel Miller, the Times reporter who wrote the series, tweeted that “Disney never asked for a correction.” The newspaper declined further comment.

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