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The National Society of Film Critics joined the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics in denouncing the Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the Los Angeles Times announced last week in retaliation for critical stories by the paper.
In addition, all four groups voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until the blackout is publicly lifted.
On Nov. 3, the L.A. Times announced that its writers and editors had been blocked from attending advance screenings of Disney films in response to The Times’ news coverage of Disney’s business dealings with the city of Anaheim.
To help get its way, Disney has over the years spent heavily on Anaheim politicians, using a complex network of political action committees to back friendly candidates who will often vote in its favor. Last year, Disney contributed $1.22 million to 10 PACs that were involved in the November election, more than any other company or single individual, according to an analysis of campaign finance disclosures by The Times. Those PACs received funds from multiple sources and most also spent money on elections outside of Anaheim.
Guarantees secured via the City Council, such as a decades-long exemption from any potential entertainment tax at Disneyland Resort, have helped insulate and expand the property, whose two theme parks welcomed a combined 27.2 million guests last year, according to data from Los Angeles consulting firm Aecom.
Amid a growing backlash, the Walt Disney Company on Tuesday reversed its decision to bar The Los Angeles Times from press screenings of its movies following an investigation by the newspaper into the media giant’s business dealings in Anaheim. “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,” Disney said in a statement. Disney’s change of course came after a number of news outlets, including The New York Times and the A.V. Club, said they were boycotting advance screenings of Disney films in solidarity.
We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times...