Under Pressure From Critics, Disney Rescinds LA Times Ban

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BURBANK (CNS) - Amid a growing backlash from film critics nationwide, The Walt Disney Co. today lifted a ban it had imposed on Los Angeles Times film critics, who had been barred from attending advance screenings of the company's movies.

Disney had imposed the ban in response to a series of articles in The Times about the entertainment conglomerate's business dealings with the city of Anaheim, stories that Disney deemed to be biased and inaccurate.

As news of the company's action spread, film critics from media outlets across the country blasted the maneuver, with some saying they would no longer review Disney films as long as the prohibition was in place.

Earlier Tuesday, the dispute escalated with an announcement by four critics' groups -- 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 -- denouncing Disney's actions and disqualifying the studio from consideration for any the groups' year-end awards.

Within hours, Disney lifted the ban.

``We've had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at the Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we've agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics,'' according to a Disney statement provided to the New York Times.

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