The decision comes amid gathering backlash from film and television critics, who took issue with Disney’s heavy-handed tactics in response to an article examining the company’s relationship with Anaheim.
“We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. “And as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics.”
Four critics organizations issued a statement this morning denouncing the media company’s actions — and voting to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until the news ban is lifted. The Television Critics Association added its voice the debate, calling Disney’s actions “punitive.”
The New York Times announced its critics would not attend advance film screenings until access was restored to the Los Angeles Times. The Washington Post‘s pop culture critic Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a column explaining why she planned to skip Disney screenings to show solidarity with the Times‘ film reviewers.
Journalists raised concerns about the chilling implications of a powerful media conglomerate opting to restrict journalists’ access rather than publicly airing their disagreements with the Los Angeles Times‘ coverage.
But the concerns weren’t limited to news organizations.
Prominent directors, including Ava DuVernay, turned to social media to extend their support to journalists who said they would boycott Disney screenings in protest.
Film-critic-turned-director Rod Lurie posted on Facebook, calling the studio’s actions a “bully move by a massive conglomerate” and vowing to skip screenings until the Times‘ access was restored.
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