Ava DuVernay, the director of Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time,” said she would join a growing boycott of Disney’s screenings after the studio announced it had banned access to a media outlet over critical coverage.
It all started with a Los Angeles Times investigation into Disney’s business dealings with Anaheim, which the studio claimed was “biased and inaccurate … wholly driven by a political agenda.”
Disney responded by cutting off the LA Times’ access to screenings, which drew the ire of fellow media outlets and journalists.
In a show of solidarity, the Washington Post’s pop culture writer Alyssa Rosenberg wrote that she would not attend screenings for such hotly anticipated Disney films as “Star Wars, Episode VIII–The Last Jedi,” or “Marvel’s Black Panther,” so long as Disney continues to block advance access to critics from the Los Angeles Times.
“This pains me, as someone who is extremely excited to see ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ which is directed by Ryan Coogler, one of my favorite directors currently working,” Rosenberg explained in her column announcing the boycott. “But as long as Disney is blocking the critics from the Los Angeles Times from press screenings, I can’t in good conscience attend similar showings or write reviews in advance.”
Several journalists from other outlets have also said they would boycott Disney screenings, while members of 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 issued a statement early this morning, also denouncing Disney’s media blackout. The critics’ organizations voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until the blackout is publicly rescinded.
The critics called Disney’s freeze-out “antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists.”
DuVernay, whose Disney film “A Wrinkle in Time” will be released on March 9, 2018, applauded the show of solidarity and announced on Twitter that she would “stand with” the journalists in protesting Disney’s retaliatory move–a decision that won immediate praise from social media followers, who praised her for “putting what’s right ahead of what’s personally beneficial.”