from the charm-offensive dept
Once again, Disney has decided to sacrifice goodwill for brand perception. Not content to limit itself to sending C&Ds to kids’ birthday party performers, Disney’s latest act of self-savagery has resulted in backlash from several top journalistic entities.
Back in September, the LA Times dug into Disney’s supremely cosy relationship with Anaheim’s government — one that has produced years of subsidies, incentives, and tax shelters for the entertainment giant. Disney wasn’t happy with the report, so it responded the way any rational company would: it issued a statement stating the articles were full of errors and claimed the LA Times “showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” (Despite these claims, Disney has yet to ask for corrections to the LA Times’ investigative articles.)
Then it responded the way any irrational company would: by locking LA Times reviewers out of advance movie screenings.
The Los Angeles Times had made Disney’s blackout public in a note to readers last week that explained why no feature articles about Disney movies appeared in its 2017 holiday movie preview section. Disney also did not give The Times early access to “Thor: Ragnarok” so that it could prepare a review in time for its Friday opening.
This resulted in the sort of thing Disney should have expected. Critics groups and several large newspapers showed their support for the LA Times by refusing to attend Disney movie screenings. The critics groups also announced they would not consider any Disney films for awards until the ban was lifted. But what likely hurt Disney the most was the show of support from powerful Hollywood figures, one of which — Ava DuVernay — has a movie slated to be released by Disney next March.
Thanks to the swift, strong backlash, Disney has now rescinded its ban. But you won’t be hearing Disney admit to being wrong. Instead, it’s still trying to portray the LA Times as the sole transgressor in this debacle.
“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,” Disney said in a statement.
Yep. Nothing to do with the backlash prompted by its bullshit move. Instead, it’s all about a recent regime change and some “productive discussions.” And the entertainment giant has nothing to say about its stupidly punitive actions resulting in more attention being drawn to the LA Times articles it disagrees with. There’s not much that’s more counterproductive than attempting to punish news outlets for delivering news. Even if the news outlet is in the wrong, there’s nothing to be gained from refusing to be the adult in the room.