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The logo of the Disney store on the Champs Elysee is seen in Paris, France, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen - D1AESQ...

Disney ends press screening ban on Los Angeles Times after backlash

Disney will no longer block The Los Angeles Times from attending press screenings of its movies, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, ending a controversial ban that had many news organizations threatening to also boycott those screenings.

The LA Times revealed the blackout in a Nov. 3 note to its readers explaining why they would not be including reviews of Disney movies such as “Thor: Ragnarok” in its annual “Holiday Movie Sneaks” section. The paper explained that the Walt Disney Company had declined to offer the LA Times advanced screenings for its films, claiming “unfair coverage” in a Sept. 24 story the paper had published, which examined the business ties between Disney and the city of Anaheim, California. The article suggested Disney was not paying its fair share to Anaheim, home to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme park. Disney later said in a statement that the paper had shown “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.”

The ban resulted in backlash from multiple news organizations. The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg announced she would boycott advanced screenings of Disney movies until The Los Angeles Times was invited back, with other outlets, including the A.V. Club and The New York Times, joining in solidarity. On Tuesday, four critics’ organizations — the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics — released a joint statement announcing they had “voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration” until the ban had been lifted.

“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 to The New York Times.

In a statement to the PBS NewsHour about Disney’s decision to lift its ban on LA Times critics, a Times spokeswoman said: “The Los Angeles Times has covered the Walt Disney Company since its founding, here in Los Angeles, in 1923. We look forward to reporting on Disney well into the future.”