On November 3 Disney decided to stop conducting business with the Los Angeles Times for their “unfair business” reviews in the city of Anaheim, banning the publication from private screenings for the movie Thor Ragnarok.
According to the article published by the Los Angeles Times in September, Disney has not been paying their fair share to the city of Anaheim for Disneyland Park. The city of Anaheim has granted various bonds, rebates and tax shield to the park for years.
Disney supports and funds various aspects of Anaheim, including funding for the local police department. Even so, employees of the Disneyland Resort and the residents of Anaheim share the same concerns that Disney isn’t doing enough for the city.
After the article had been published, Disney stopped contacting the Los Angeles Times and banning them from private screenings of Disney’s recent box office hit, Thor Ragnarok. Despite this, the review was published on time.
Shortly after, many critics came out in support of the Los Angeles Times, including the LA Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Society of Film Critics and Ava DuVernay, who directed A Wrinkle in Time for Disney earlier this year. They all declined private screenings by Disney unless the ban was lifted and removed any Disney films from any of their year-end awards.
On November 7, Disney lifted the ban due to pressure from critics. The Los Angeles Times released a statement in the aftermath of the ban being lifted. “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.