STANDING IN SOLIDARITY: Disney blacks out the Los Angeles Times

Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, at the D23 Expo in July 2017. (Disney/Image Group LA)

Last week, film critics and reporters were alerted to The Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the Los Angeles Times.  As a Disney shareholder, I am not pleased that they are preventing a newspaper and their critics/reporters from doing their jobs.

I tweeted my disgust as soon as I heard about it:

The LA Times alerted readers to the blackout in Friday’s paper and online:

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. 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.

The news of the blackout came on the same day in which Marvel had opened Thor: Ragnarok in theaters.  What Disney probably didn’t realize is that by blacking out the Times, more people would read and share the article that led to the media blackout.

Not surprisingly, the blackout isn’t limited to just film.  The TV reporters haven’t been able to access any screeners since early October as Glenn Whipp tells Indiewire: “Our TV writers have had their access stripped from the Disney TV sites for a while now.”

Rather than allow for executives to comment on the record for the investigative pieces or ask for a correction, Disney chose to retaliate instead. Again, this is a very bad move on Disney’s part and speaking as someone who owns stock in Disney, I’m disgusted.

I join Flavorwire in solidarity with the Los Angeles Times.  You won’t see me covering properties from Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Disney Animation, or Walt Disney Pictures and maybe even more until the Los Angeles Times critics and reporters are allowed to do their jobs.

EDIT: The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics, and the National Society of Film Critics have released a joint statement saying that they will not be considering any Disney films for awards season.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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