Disney’s feud with the Los Angeles Times continues, as the Mouse House has now been banned from various film awards. This public falling-out began when the LA Times published an article that painted Disney in a bad light, suggesting that Disney’s Parks & Resorts aren’t paying a fair share to the city of Anaheim. For example, the Times criticised Disney for charging customers $20-per-car to park in a city-owned garage, which Disney itself only pays $1-a-year to lease.
In reaction to this article, Disney banned the LA Times from early screenings of its movies by putting them on a ‘media blackout’. A Disney spokesperson said that the Times’ report showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” Disney’s statement accused the LA Times’ article of being “biased and inaccurate” and “wholly driven by a political agenda.”
And now various critics' groups have struck back against Disney. Showing solidarity with the LA Times, a joint statement was released by The L.A. Film Critics Association, N.Y. Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics. All of these critics' groups have admonished Disney for restricting the LA Times' access to its media. Taking action against Disney, these groups have announced that all Disney features are disqualified from consideration for their end-of-year awards “until said blackout is publicly rescinded.”
Explaining their decision, the critics' groups stated that Disney’s actions against the LA Times "are antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists." Their statement also suggested that Disney should “express its disagreement with a business story via on-going public discussion,” rather than punishing journalists.
However, as impressive and inspiring as it is to see critics' groups banding together to support the LA Times in the midst of this feud, it is unclear how this awards ban will affect Disney’s stance. As one of the biggest corporations on the planet, it’s hard to see Disney backing down, given that the higher-ups at the Mouse House were clearly offended by the LA Times’ original article. They may miss out on some awards, but saving face is presumably important to Disney as well.
This story is still developing, and we’ll bring you all the latest updates as they occur.
Source: LAFCA, NYFCC, BSFC, NSFC
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