Disney Films Banned From Film Critics Awards Over Los Angeles Times Blackout

Four major film critics groups are giving thumbs-down to the Walt Disney Company and snubbing its films for year-end awards after the entertainment giant blacklisted the Los Angeles Times from film coverage.

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 voted Tuesday to remove all Disney films from awards consideration, which could hurt their chances of scoring bigger prizes like the Oscars.

A joint statement from the critics groups said Disney's Times shutdown set a dangerous precedent for entertainment reporters.

"Disney's response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included," it said.

Disney banned Los Angeles's largest newspaper from reviewing its films after an investigation showed the company was avoiding paying its fair share to Anaheim, its host city. The Times found that Disney, the city's most powerful corporation, had dodged paying more than $1 billion to Anaheim through a web of tax protections, rebates and incentives. Disney's profits soared by billions of dollars while its host city struggled with rising poverty and crime. 

06_16_disney_04 People visit Shanghai Disneyland as part of the three-day grand opening events in Shanghai, China, on June 15, 2016. Aly Song/Reuters

Disney accused the Times of showing "a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards" and following a "political agenda," though it did not dispute specific parts of the story or ask for corrections. The company banned Times writers from its advance film screenings and even its Disney TV sites.

The Times has stood by its story and said it will still cover Disney movies without the early screenings.

Disney Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse attend the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris at the park in Marne-la-Vallee on April 12. Benoit Tessier/File Photo/Reuters

But reporters at other outlets, including The Washington Post, CNN and Flavorwire, have pledged not to cover Disney screenings and press junkets as a protest until the company relents. 

The New York Film Critics Circle votes on its annual awards November 30, with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association following on December 3, the Boston Society of Film Critics on December 10 and the National Society of Film Critics on January 6.

Disney has asked critics to consider Beauty and the Beast, Cars 3, Coco, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok for awards.