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Disney barred from film awards over L.A. Times dispute

Holiday movie preview

Film critics are pushing back against Walt Disney Co. (DIS) in an escalating fight about journalism. 

Four prominent film critics groups say they will bar Walt Disney Co. films from receiving awards consideration over the company's decision to exclude the Los Angeles Times from advance screenings of its films and access to its talent.

The dispute stems from a Los Angeles Times report about the relationship between Disney and the city of Anaheim, where Disneyland is based. Disney said last week the Times disregarded "basic journalistic standards" in the report.

In a joint statement released early Tuesday, 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 denounced Disney's decision, saying it "should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included." The groups say Disney films won't be considered for awards until the blackout of the Times is lifted.

The dispute aired on Friday when the Los Angeles Times posted a note to its readers that its holiday sneak peek reviews didn't include Disney movies because the studio declined to provide advance screenings to the newspaper. Times writer Glenn Whipp wrote on Twitter that the ban was why the publication didn't have a review of "Thor: Ragnarok" in the newspaper that day. 

A company spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.