18 Reactions To Disney Refusing To Let Grieving Dad Put Spider-Man On 4-Year-Old Son’s Headstone

Disney is taking hits from all sides at the moment after they denied a grieving father permission to use the image of Spider-Man on his son’s grave.

Ollie Jones died in December aged just 4 years old after battling with leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease which his sister Laillah is also living with. The family are understandably bereft and hoped to mark his grave with a specially designed Spider-Man headstone.

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Ollie was a massive fan of the Marvel character, and his father Lloyd knows that Ollie would’ve loved Spider-Man watching over him. “At the moment I go to his grave and see flowers, it would be nice to have something that really reminds me of him,” he said.

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However, the local council of Maidstone, UK, said it needs permission from Marvel, which owns the rights to the comic book character, to approve it. Sadly Disney, who has owned Marvel since 2009, cited a decision made by Walt Disney himself that bans the use of Disney-owned characters on graves, tombstones and other memorial markers. This policy is designed to preserve the innocence and magic around its characters.

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“We extend our sincere condolences. If we played a small part in Ollie’s happiness we are honored,” a representative of Disney said.

“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.”

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“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.”

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Ollie’s uncle, Jason Jones, was stunned by the decision. “This means 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.”

“His coffin was covered in Spider-man, the procession was led by someone dressed as Spider-man, this would really mean the world to us. I didn’t expect it to be an issue – my funeral director, who’s also my friend, rang me and told me they can’t do it. I thought he was joking at first.”

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Father Lloyd suspects that the giant corporation cares only about its bottom line. ”It makes no sense to me – characters die in their films all the time,” he said on Facebook. “Ollie’s last holiday was at Disneyland. He loved Spider-Man and we had bought him all the toys. But now he has died and we won’t be spending any more money, they don’t care.”

The affair has proven to be a massive own goal for Disney, with the internet awash with indignant outrage at their stubborn stance. Predictably, a series of mocking memes have surfaced highlighting the absurdity of it all.

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Here’s what people had to say about Disney’s decision

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Leukodystrophy affects one in 40,000 people in the UK and is brought on by a genetic fault. “It’s a fatal condition. It affects them from the age of about two and then most people with it live to around 20,” Lloyd said.
“It’s not painful, but it disrupts their muscles. You try and put a shirt or their trousers on and their muscles can tense up. In the end, Ollie could only move his hands to play with his toys.”

You can help the family by signing a petition here, and also learn more about Leukodystrophy here.

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