With the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays soon upon us, various outlets have begun to publish their film preview guides with The Los Angeles Times publishing theirs this week. However their guide also included some notable absentees – namely anything from Disney Pictures, the biggest film studio on the planet at this point. The paper explains in a statement that:
“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.”
Long time L.A. Times reporter Glenn Whipp, who broke the James Toback sexual harassment and assault story this year, also began a thread on Twitter explaining the statement and indicates the outlet wasn’t invited to “Thor: Ragnarok” press screenings because they’re under a temporary ban:
“The Los Angeles Times has been ‘put on pause’ by Disney, barring its reporters and critics from seeing its movies. Disney didn’t like the Times’ recent two-part story detailing Disneyland’s business ties with the city of Anaheim.
Disney’s action is a clear indication of how Robert Iger feels about journalism and a free press. Which is significant because Iger is said to harbor political ambitions when he retires from Disney in 2019. Is this how Bob Iger would react to reporters asking touch questions should he run for office? Also wondering: How does @ABC feel about this action?”
Disney has yet to respond publicly. With the apparent ban, the studio has had arguably the opposite effect of what they intended – putting the spotlight directly on the original two-part story which explores the one-sided relationship the company has with Anaheim including squeezing the city for subsidies, incentives, rebates and protections from future taxes.
This follows on from reports earlier this week that the corporate giant had issued somewhat harsh penalties on top of already strict conditions for cinema owners who want to show “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. In the interests of full disclosure, I myself as editor of Dark Horizons was also not invited to Walt Disney Australia’s pre-screenings of “Thor: Ragnarok”.