The Walt Disney Co. is leaving Los Angeles Times reporters outside the velvet rope for its upcoming movies, barring the paper’s employees from advance screenings in retaliation for a pair of stories detailing the company’s business ties with the city of Anaheim, the home of Disneyland.
UPDATE: Saturday morning, Disney issued a statement, saying: “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 standard. Despite our sharing numerous indisputable facts with the reporter, several editors, and the publisher over many months, the Times moved forward with a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda–so much so that the Orange County Register referred to the report as ‘a hit piece’ with a ‘seemingly predetermined narrative.’ We’ve had a long relationship with the L.A. Times, and we hope they will adhere to balanced reporting in the future.”
The paper published a note Friday explaining that there was not a review of Disney’s latest film, the Marvel superhero movie “Thor: Ragnarok,” in Friday’s print edition because critic Justin Chang was not permitted to see the film in advance.
The Times also published a separate note saying the decision was due to the Anaheim stories.
“The annual Holiday Movie Sneaks section published by the Los Angeles Times typically includes features on movies from all major studios, reflecting the diversity of films Hollywood offers during the holidays, one of the busiest box-office periods of the year,” the paper wrote.
“This year, Walt Disney Co. studios declined to offer The Times advance screenings, citing what it called unfair coverage of its business ties with Anaheim. The Times will continue to review and cover Disney movies and programs when they are available to the public.”
A Disney spokesperson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Chang’s “Thor: Ragnarok” review appeared online Friday after public screenings began Thursday night.
The next Disney films scheduled for release include the Pixar animated movie “Coco” later this month and December’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”