The Television Critics Association (TCA) has weighed in on the clash between Walt Disney Co. and the Los Angeles Times, which saw Disney deny the newspaper’s reporters advance screening access to Disney films. The TCA said companies taking “punitive action” against reporters for doing their jobs is wrong.
The problem started when the Los Angeles Times published a report Sept. 24 called “Is Disney Paying Its Share in Anaheim?” on Walt Disney’s tax benefits from Anaheim, home of Disneyland. Disney responded by saying that the newspaper showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards,” and added that Los Angeles Times reporters could no longer attend advance screenings of Disney movies.
The TCA board said in a statement, "The Television Critics Association understands that screeners and coverage opportunities are a privilege and not a right, but we condemn any circumstance in which a company takes punitive action against journalists for doing their jobs."
There was talk of Disney movies being removed from awards consideration as long as the LA Times blackout remained.
The LA Times said its reporters were also denied screening access to Disney TV series.
Disney later relented, giving Times critics access to film and TV screenings.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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