Disney is reportedly refusing to let a grieving father in a suburb of London place an etching of Spider-Man on his late four-year-old son’s tombstone because the media conglomerate wants to “preserve the magic” of its characters.
The child, Ollie Jones, was a Marvel superfan who died from a rare genetic disease — and had a Spider-Man themed funeral to send him off which included red and blue balloons and a horse-drawn carriage.
Disney wants to preserve the ‘magic’ of its characters. https://t.co/sIM9Hx2RLO
— Metro (@MetroUK) July 5, 2019
Ollie’s last trip with his family was to Disneyland, so he could meet his superheroes in person. When Ollie passed, his father, Lloyd Jones, asked the town council in Kent if he could etch an image of Spider-Man into the gravestone.
The council members referred the request to the Walt Disney Corporation, which owns Marvel. Disney eventually denied the father’s request in an email.
The email read in part:
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. [sic]
“I really wasn’t expecting this – it’s another massive blow.” Lloyd, who is a father of six, told Metro UK. “I felt sure they would allow it.”
Lloyd’s school friend also pitched in to help bring attention to his friend’s plight by starting a petition to encourage Disney representatives to change their mind. As of Wednesday, the petition has more than 12,000 signatures.