The studio has been accused of cultural appropriation many times before, but it managed to pull out relatively unscathed this time.
The Disney Dia de los Muertos trademark debacle happened and the internet is once again abuzz. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, Disney filed a bid into the US U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the phrase “Dia de los Muertos” in several categories, including toys, jewelry and cereals. The application came ahead of a potential, as of yet unnamed movie about the Mexican holiday, known in English as the Day of the Dead. A lot can be said about Disney’s offensive and culturally insensitive move, but the situation is made slightly better by the fact that company execs have apparently realised their mistake after the huge backlash following the news. Blogs, social networks and even some news sites erupted after the bid was announced on May 1 and Disney have since withdrawn it.
“As we have previously announced, Disney-Pixar is developing an animated feature inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos,” a studio spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Sounds like a convenient way to get out of an awkward (to say the least) situation. But even after the trademark bid is no longer an issue, you have to wonder, whose brilliant idea was it to file it in the first place? Whoever it was, we don’t sense any promotions in their near future.