Disney Defends Banning LA Times From Screenings: ‘Complete Disregard for Basic Journalism Standards’

On Friday, The Times said film critic Justin Chang was not permitted to see “Thor: Ragnarok” in advance

Following news that the Walt Disney Co. is leaving Los Angeles Times reporters outside the velvet rope for its upcoming movies after a story detailing the company’s business ties with Anaheim was published, Disney said the publication “showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.”

“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,” Disney said in a statement in response to The Times’ allegations. “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.”

Chang’s “Thor: Ragnarok” review appeared online Friday after public screenings began Thursday night.

A spokesperson for Disney has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.