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Disney lifts ban on L.A. Times film critics

Libby Hill, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- The Walt Disney Co. has reversed its decision to exclude Los Angeles Times critics from press screenings of its films.

"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 sent to The Times on Tuesday.

The statement followed declarations by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. (which includes Times staff writers), New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics, National Society of Film Critics and Toronto Film Critics Assn. that Disney films would be ineligible for year-end awards consideration for as long as Times film critics were banned from advance screenings.

The Walt Disney Co. revoked the newspaper's access to all press screenings, the ABC press site and other media events after the Times ran a two-part series on the company's business ties with Anaheim that Disney considered unfair.

The matter went public when Times editors included notes in the Friday and Sunday Calendar sections to explain why there were no Disney films featured in the holiday movie preview section, and why Justin Chang's "Thor: Ragnarok" review was not running on the day the film opened.

Support within the journalism community began to grow throughout the weekend, with film writers at the New York Times, Washington Post and A.V. Club announcing boycotts of Disney press screenings and filmmakers including Ava DuVernay tweeting their support.

When contacted, a Disney rep had no comment beyond the statement.

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