Following the Walt Disney Company’s decision to put the LA Times on a blacklist three days ago, several prominent critics' groups have banded to ban the company from awards season.
The story is thus: The LA Times had published a factual, two-piece article exploring Disney’s relationship ties to the city of Anaheim, California, and how the corporation benefits so much at the city’s expense. Infuriated by this, Disney has barred the LA Times from entry into its movies, some of the most highly-anticipated of the year, for review. That is every Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm release.
To add insult to injury, Disney alleged that The LA Times has shown “complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.”
The story was interesting for its political potentiali, allowing a glimpse into the temperament Disney CEO Bob Iger directs towards a free press, raising eyebrows because of the political ambitions Iger reportedly harbours—ambitions which, in an age where a former reality TV star is now a sitting US President and the legitimacy of a free and independent press continues to be in question, raise flags.
Since the publication of the story, Washington Post journalist Alyssa Rosenberg has announced she will be voluntarily joining the LA Times, refusing to cover any Disney or Disney-related material (including anything to do with Star Wars: The Last Jedi); she was soon followed by Flavorwide, The AV Club, and Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr.
This morning, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Film Critics Association, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the National Society of Film Critics have shown solidarity with The LA Times. In a statement, the groups said that "Disney’s actions, which include an indefinite ban on any interaction with The Times, are antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists."
Noting the unusual nature of the situation—in which critics' groups punish a film's artists for decisions made by executives—the groups nonetheless have said that Disney movies will be barred from consideration for any awards this year.
In another unusual step, film director Ava DuVernay—who directed Selma, 13th, and Disney's upcoming A Wrinkle in Time—suggested she supported the decision.
Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another. Standing with you. https://t.co/M9Fs22vv4L— Ava DuVernay (@ava) November 7, 2017
David Simon, showrunner on The Wire, The Deuce, and Treme echoed her sentiment:
If journos being selectively barred, then I'll play, too. This award season, all Disney screeners dumped. No votes from me for their stuff. https://t.co/ih8UqkZk01— David Simon (@AoDespair) November 7, 2017
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