Disney has lifted its screening ban on the Los Angeles Times. The paper will be allowed once again to attend advanced showings of Disney films after journalists and critics’ associations resolved not to attend screenings and even to ban Disney movies from awards consideration unless its lockout of the Times was revoked. In a statement this afternoon, the studio explained its decision to rescind the ban amid backlash, “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.” Last week the Times explained to readers why upcoming releases from the studio were absent from its annual holiday-movie preview. After the paper published an investigative report in September that detailed Disney’s intricate business ties to the city of Anaheim, the home of Disneyland, the company blocked the Times from review screenings prior to the release of its films. In a statement issued last week, Disney’s party line was, “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,” despite the fact that, according to the Times, the massive studio had not asked for any corrections to their two-part series that touched on issues such as Disney’s tax protections and incentives in Anaheim, as well as its impact on local politics. The company characterized the reporting as “a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda.”
Since yesterday, the Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg, the New York Times, The A.V. Club, and groups like the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association all stood in solidarity with the L.A. Times and denounced Disney for its actions.