The Walt Disney Company lifted their film press screening’s ban from the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday after growing backlash from journalists around the country.
The Los Angeles Times rattled the Walt Disney Company when they released a two-part investigative series on Disney’s “subsides, incentives, rebates and protections from future taxes” that Disney had secured from the city, as well as the company’s impact on local elections.
“We regularly work with news organizations around the world that we don’t always agree with, but in this instance the L.A. Times showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards,” Disney said in a statement last week.
The Los Angeles Times fought back by saying at the time Disney had not asked for any corrections about the investigation. Disney’s decision to block the Los Angeles Times journalists from advance screenings drew national attention and caused outrage from large media outlets.
The New York Times and the A.V. Club stood by the Los Angeles Times and the right to freedom of the press by boycotting any advance screenings of Disney films in solidarity.
The Los Angeles Times made the blackout public by putting a note to their readers last week why no Disney films would be featured 2017 holiday movie preview section.
According to The New York Times, Disney has a history of taking punitive action against news organizations and analysts when they publish articles or analysis that it deems unfair. Company representatives consistently tell journalists that the media’s access to its films and executives is “a privilege and not a right.”
“As long as Disney is blocking the critics from the Los Angeles Times from press screenings, I can’t in good conscience attend similar showings or write reviews in advance,” Alyssa Rosenberg ,who covers culture for The Washington Post, wrote on Monday.
After all the criticism received, Disney reversed their decision Tuesday and lifted the ban.
“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.”
In a statement of its own released shortly afterward, the Times said, “The Los Angeles Times has covered the Walt Disney Company since its founding, here in Los Angeles, in 1923. We look forward to reporting on Disney well into the future.”