Disney has been facing backlash recently after they denied a grieving father the permission to use the image of Spider-Man on the grave of his son.
Ollie Jones lost his life in December when he was just 4 years old. He was battling with a rare genetic disease called leukodystrophy, and his sister Laillah is also living with the condition.
The family was, understandably, broken, and they hoped to mark their son’s grave with a Spider-Man headstone.
You see, Ollie was a huge Marvel fan, and he especially loved Spider-Man. His dad knows that the boy would love to have Spider-Man watching over him, and he said that he really wants to have something reminding him of his son when he goes to the graveyard.
The local council of Maidstone, UK, said that the father needs permission from Marvel, which is owned by Disney, to create the tombstone. Sadly, though, Disney cited a decision made by Walt Disney himself that bans the use of Disney-owned characters on tombstones, graves, and other memorial markers, in order to “preserve the innocence” around its characters.
This is what a Disney representative said:
“We extend our sincere condolences. If we played a small part in Ollie’s happiness we are honored.
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.
Although we cannot grant the family’s request, we would be pleased to commemorate your nephew with a hand-inked, hand-painted, personalized cel that recognises his love for Spider-Man, which will read: ‘For your ——- (nephew’s name), Thank you for letting us share in the magic of your life. Your friends at the Walt Disney Company.’ We feel privileged to have had him as a fan.”
Ollie’s family has been stunned by the decision, and his uncle Jason Jones said that the little Ollie loved Spider-Man so much his entire life.
He didn’t expect this to be an issue, but it turns out that it is.
This is what Ollie’s father shared on Facebook:
Expectedly, this decision by Disney prompted a series of mocking memes towards them, highlighting the absurdity of it: