+
Culture

Disney refused to allow a family to put Spider-Man on a 4-year-old’s grave

Disney refused to allow a family to put Spider-Man on a 4-year-old’s grave
via Chochilino / Twitter

The Walt Disney company is notorious for the way it aggressively protects its brand and trademarks. It's been called the "most powerful brand in the world," in part due to how it guards its intellectual property by any means necessary.

According to lawyers from the Michael Jackson estate, Disney's "zeal to protect its own intellectual property from infringements, real or imagined, often knows no bounds."

Now, the company is taking heat for going so far to protect a copyright that it has denied a simple request from a father whose young son recently died.


Ollie Jones lost his life to leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease, last December at the age of four. Ollie was a massive fan of Spider-Man, a Marvel character owned by the Walt Disney Corporation.

The boy's father, Lloyd Jones, thought it would be fitting to have the superhero looking over his son, so he designed a tombstone featuring Spider-Man to appear at his grave site at Maidstone Cemetery in Kent, England.

via GoodingFuneralServs/Twitter

However, a local council of Maidstone, U.K. said it needed permission from Disney to create the tombstone due to potential copyright infringement. Disney denied the request, citing a rule handed down by Walt Disney himself. While he was alive, Disney banned the use of Disney characters on graves, tombstones, and other memorial markers.

RELATED: Disney's black Ariel isn't just about diverse representation. It's also about undoing past wrongs.

"His coffin was covered in Spider-Man, the procession was led by someone dressed as Spider-Man, this would really mean the world to us," his father told Yahoo. "I didn't expect it to be an issue – my funeral director, who's also my friend, rang me and told me they can't do it. I thought he was joking at first."

via Lloyd Jones / Facebook

"We extend our sincere condolences. If we played a small part in Ollie's happiness we are honored," a Disney representative said in a statement.

"Generations of fans have responded to our characters with the same wonder and delight that Ollie did. In fact, many believe the characters to be real. We have striven to preserve the same innocence and magic around our characters that brought Ollie such joy. For that reason, we follow a policy that began with Walt Disney himself that does not permit the use of characters on headstones, cemetery or other memorial markers or funeral urns."

RELATED: Disney will hold its first official Pride event this year because the Happiest Place on Earth is for everyone

Disney's dedication to protecting its brand, even if it means breaking the hearts of a grieving family, struck many on social media as a cruel gesture. Reddit users responded by trashing Disney with memes.

via Redpandaca / Reddit

via Pathetticcat / Reddit

via Ondra01 / Reddit


via Meme-Mage / Reddit

via I_am_unique_6435 / Reddit

Multiple Twitter users noted that characters in Disney movies — especially its Marvel films — die all the time.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less