Disney retaliated against the LA Times for reporting it didn’t like. The implications are huge.
As reviews of Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok began rolling out in advance of the movie’s November 3 release, a review from one news outlet in particular — the Los Angeles Times — was glaringly absent. And its editors didn’t hold back in explaining why.
In a simple “note to readers,” published November 3, the newspaper explained that it could not review Thor: Ragnarok prior to the film’s release — nor include it or the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi in its annual entertainment Holiday Preview. The reason, the note said, is that Disney (which owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm) had barred LA Times critics from attending advanced press screenings of both movies — and, in fact, any Disney movies — in response to “unfair coverage.” (LA Times film critic Justin Chang only saw and reviewed Thor: Ragnarok once it was released to the public.)
As LA Times writer Glenn Whipp explained on Twitter, the “unfair coverage” in question was a scathing two-part series published in late September that investigated Disney’s fraught business ties in Anaheim, California, home of the company’s Disneyland theme park. Disney’s displeasure with the LA Times’s reporting of this story took the form of a statement essentially blacklisting the entire paper from interviews and screenings related to any of its many properties, until the paper “adhere[s] to balanced reporting in the future.”
Here’s the statement I got from the Walt Disney Co. on the L.A. Times blackout. pic.twitter.com/F6PLjRTxti
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) November 3, 2017