The Walt Disney Company attempted to file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to own rights to Día De Los Muertos to protect an upcoming film from Disney Pixar inspired by the Mexican holiday. Día de Los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” is a day observed in all of Latin America and the United States to honor and remember loved ones who have passed.
This news spread all over social media networks after the filing on Monday, May 6 and within three days Disney was pressured to remove the filing. On May 8, the bid was dropped following pressure from Latino communities all over the U.S. and abroad.
“Disney’s trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities. It has since been determined that the title of the film will change and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing,” says a Disney spokesperson.
Latinos all over the Americas were outraged at the idea of a corporation having rights over a centuries-old holiday that has Mexican roots. On Tuesday, Grace Sesma created a petition on Change.org to stop the trademark on Día de Los Muertos because she felt it was exploiting and appropriating Mexican religion and culture. Within one day, the petition closed with over 20,000 supporters which helped Disney realize the mistake they were making. Essentially, social media helped create awareness to Disney about how disrespectful trademarking a significant holiday to Latinos all over the world would be.
Here are some Twitter responses to the filing:
Thanks to social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for spreading the terrible news to folks who value Día de Los Muertos as a cultural and religious celebration. Now we no longer have to worry about being sued when we want to celebrate this holiday.
The biggest problem with this attempt to file is Latinos are used to seeing this type of disrespect. Our culture is constantly being appropriated, shamed and sold for profit. Ever see a piñata at a Wal-Mart? The biggest fear I have when it comes to Disney making a movie about Día de Los Muertos is how badly they are going to misrepresent an important and significant day for us. I suppose we have to give them the benefit of the doubt. I mean they did such a good job with Pocahontas right?