Disney refuses to let grieving dad put Spider-Man on his 4-year-old son's gravestone to preserve 'magic' of their characters
Media giant Disney has reportedly disallowed a grieving father to place an etching of Spider-Man on the headstone of his four-year-old son saying it wants to preserve the "innocence" and magic of their characters.
Ollie Jones, from Kent, UK, was given a Spider-Man sendoff after he died of a rare genetic disease. According to Metro, his funeral featured a horse-drawn carriage decorated with red and blue balloons.
The youngster's last trip with his family had been to Disneyland, where he met his favorite superhero, the New York Post reports.
Meanwhile, Lloyd Jones, his father, requested permission from the local council to customize his son's gravestone with a Spider-Man theme, but he was referred to copyright owner Disney, who then rejected the father's request.
“I felt sure they would allow it,” Metro quoted Lloyd as saying.
According to the father, the decision was "about money" as the movie giant is trying to "dissociate their characters with death."
“That makes no sense to me – characters die in their films all the time. I think this is all about money," he added.
Lloyd’s brother Jason Jones, 37, said: “This meant everything to us. My brother’s life has been shattered, it has shattered the whole family. We can’t move on until we have his headstone done – Spider-Man was Ollie’s entire life. He loved it so much. I didn’t expect it to be an issue – my funeral director, who’s also my friend called me and told me they can’t do it."
"I thought he was joking at first," he added. “We understand copyright but I don’t see why Marvel would have any issues with this.”
A representative from The Walt Disney Company’s permissions department previously wrote to Jones: “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."
“Thank you for letting us share in the magic of your life," they concluded. "Your friends at the Walt Disney Company.”
That said, Laillah, Ollie's six-year-old sister, suffers from the same disease that claimed the boy's life -- leukodystrophy. It is known to target the central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord.