The New York Times joined a growing media boycott of Disney movies, saying in a statement that it will not attend screenings of Disney films until the company restores access to the Los Angeles Times.
“The New York Times will not attend preview screenings of Disney films until access is restored to the Los Angeles Times,” a Times spokesperson told TheWrap. “A powerful company punishing a news organization for a story they do not like is meant to have a chilling effect. This is a dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest.”
Shortly after the paper issued its statement, Disney announced it would rescind its blackout of the LA Times.
On Friday, the LA Times reported that Disney had blocked its writers and editors from advance movie screenings in retaliation for the paper’s reporting on Disney’s business dealings with the city of Anaheim.
Since then, a wave of media outlets and critics have expressed solidarity with the LAT. On Monday, the A.V. Club website and Washington Post critic at large Alyssa Rosenberg announced they would boycott Disney screenings until the L.A. Times was allowed to attend them as well.
And on Tuesday, the National Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics have denounced the Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the LA Times.
In addition, all four groups voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until the blackout is publicly lifted.
According to a joint statement by the four critics groups, “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.”
The statement concluded, “Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”