Disney studios. Photo by John Schreiber.

Four groups of film critics announced Tuesday that they would not consider any Disney film for year-end awards until the Walt Disney Co. rescinds its retaliatory decision to bar Los Angeles Times writers from advance screenings of Disney movies.

The announcement was made by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics, which all said in a statement that they “jointly denounce the Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the Los Angeles Times. Furthermore, all four critics’ organizations have voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until said blackout is publicly rescinded.”

The Times said in a statement on Nov. 3 that its writers and editors had been blocked from attending advance screenings of Disney films in response to The Times’ news coverage of Disney’s business arrangements with the city of Anaheim.

“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 critics’ statement said.

“It is admittedly extraordinary for a critics’ group, let alone four critics’ groups, to take any action that might penalize film artists for decisions beyond their control. But Disney brought forth this action when it chose to punish The Times’ journalists rather than express its disagreement with a business story via ongoing public discussion. Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”

The statement reported that the New York Film Critics Circle will vote on its annual awards Nov. 30, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Dec. 3, the Boston Society of Film Critics on Dec. 10, and the National Society of Film Critics on Jan. 6.

—City News Service

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