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Coco, the new children’s animation from Pixar/Disney, screened for Chicago critics Tuesday afternoon, but the Chicago Reader wasn’t there. We boycotted the screening in solidarity with the Los Angeles Times, which has been barred from press previews in retaliation for its news coverage of Disney’s business dealings with the city of Anaheim, home of the theme parks Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure as well as the lucrative Disneyland Resort.

Last Friday, the Times noted in its holiday movie preview that “Walt Disney Co. studios declined to offer The Times advance screenings, citing what it called unfair coverage of its business ties with Anaheim. The Times will continue to review and cover Disney movies and programs when they are available to the public.”

The paper was referring to Daniel Miller’s two-part story in September detailing the estimated $1 billion in financial incentives Disney has received from Anaheim over the past 20 years and the company’s bankrolling of local candidates favorable to its interests. (“You have one of the most sophisticated corporate entities around negotiating with a small, capacity-constrained local government,” notes one business professor at UCLA. “There is an imbalance of sophistication, an imbalance of power and an imbalance of resources.”)

This weekend, as a member of the National Society of Film Critics, I voted to protest the Times blackout by excluding movies released by Disney’s various entertainment holdings (Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar, et al.) from the NSFC’s year-end awards. Three critics’ organizations—the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Boston Society of Film Critics—have joined suit, and other publications and journalists, including the A/V Club and

The Chicago Film Critics Association has not issued a statement on the controversy, though it may have learned about the boycott only when it was announced this morning. None of the Chicago critics elected to the National Society of Film Critics (myself, Michael Phillips of the Tribune, and Jonathan Rosenbaum of jonathanrosenbaum.com) belongs to the CFCA.