Disney #FAIL Día De Los Muertos

Disney #FAIL Día De Los Muertos
Photo by Teresa Puente

Here's a scary thought.

Disney wanted to trademark "Día De Los Muertos."

Day of the Dead is a Mexican and Central American holiday with roots in pre-Columbian and Catholic religious traditions. It is celebrated November 1 and 2 with cemetery vigils and shrines in honor of the departed.

Apparently, Disney filed trademark applications for "Día De Los Muertos" May 1 because Pixar is making an animated film with that theme, StitchKingdom first reported Monday.

The trademark would have included a variety of products and goods including "Día De Los Muertos" chewing gum, cosmetics, watches, stationary, toys and video game software.

There was an outcry on social media as many agreed Disney can't appropriate a holiday.

"This is a sacred tradition. It's NOT FOR SALE," wrote Consuelo Alba of Watsonville, Calif., in signing a Change.org petition.

"Día De Los Muertos is a Mexican tradition, it is part of our culture!!!Its not a product. It CANNOT be a trademark!" @disney @disneypixar wrote @aida_lu on Twitter.

Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz responded with a cartoon that depicts a fanged calavera with mouse ears. He called it "Muerto Mouse."

The reaction of the Latino community was swift and severe and Disney backed away from their trademark applications.

"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," Disney said in a statement to Fronteras Desk Tuesday evening.

Disney was arrogant in assuming they could appropriate a cultural holiday.

They wouldn't dream of trademarking Halloween, Easter or Christmas Day.

"Día De Los Muertos" is a religious and cultural tradition that I have witnessed over the years in Michoacan, Chiapas, and Mexico City. It is about honoring the souls of those who have died and celebrating their life. I wrote about the death toll from the drug war last fall for the Daily Beast and also blogs about the meaning of the holiday.

At Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art there is an annual exhibit with elaborate altars.

I can't imagine how Disney will make this into a film for family entertainment. We shouldn't expect much from a company that creates a Latina princess named Sofia with auburn hair and blue eyes and then decides that she is not really Latina.

The makers of this film, who also did Toy Story 3, should be careful not to stereotype about "muertos" as the Latino audience will be quick to kill (with criticism) the film scheduled for release in 2015.

Leave a comment