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After Outcry, Disney Withdraws Effort To Trademark ‘Dia De Los Muertos’

Audio

Aired 5/7/13

The Walt Disney Company told Fronteras Desk it will withdraw trademark applications related to the Day of the Dead holiday. Disney made the decision late Tuesday after an avalanche of social media backlash.

A tongue-in-cheek cartoon was an example of the online response to Disney's trademark applications. Image courtesy of Lalo Alcaraz/Pocho.com

The Walt Disney Company told Fronteras Desk it will withdraw trademark applications related to the Day of the Dead holiday. Disney made the decision late Tuesday after an avalanche of social media backlash.

The story went viral Tuesday morning: Disney files to trademark the phrase "Día de los Muertos." That's the Spanish name for the annual Mexican tradition of honoring deceased family members and friends.

The trademark request was related to an upcoming Disney-Pixar film inspired by the holiday.

The news did not go over well. Grace Alvarez Sesma is a traditional Mexican healer who lives in Colorado.

"We don't need The Walt Disney Company to help us to promote our own culture," she said.

Alvarez Sesma started an online petition against Disney. Hours later it had more than 14,000 supporters.

Twitter and Facebook exploded with posts like 'Our culture is not for sale' and 'Keep your corporate hands off.'

By late afternoon Disney released a statement saying it would withdraw its "Día de los Muertos" trademark applications.

Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column "Ask a Mexican," said, "The Latino market is such that already there were calls for protest, boycotts and all that and Disney knows better than to poke at the so-called 'sleeping giant.'"

The term "sleeping giant" was often used during the 2012 presidential election to describe the Latino voter bloc, credited with delivering President Barack Obama a victory.

Disney's official statement said the company will withdraw the trademark filing because they've determined the title of the Mexican-inspired film will change. A spokesperson declined further comment.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 8, 2013 at 7:20 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

What a cheap ploy by Disney.

Another example of how corporations feel they can do whatever the hell they want, buying people, elections, public land, and now even holidays.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'gmlagos'

gmlagos | May 8, 2013 at 9:27 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

I agree with Peking_Duck. What a jerk move by Disney.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 8, 2013 at 10:54 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

The real reason Disney withdrew the application was all the "Speak English you Kenya-lovin' commie" letters they received.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 8, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

@DLR, good one.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 8, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Disney trademarked "Bollywood" and nobody complained. So what is the difference?

Here is the answer:

"Disney knows better than to poke at the so-called 'sleeping giant."
- Gustavo Arellano

The so-called sleeping giant being Mexicans, I presume. What does that make Indians? Sleeping ants? Why is their voice ignored?

Here is another good one:

"We don't need The Walt Disney Company to help us to promote our own culture."
- Grace Alvarez Sesma

I agree. They should stop making movies about other cultures. The nerve!

But wait, when Disney has too many Caucasian princesses, the same "sleeping giant" starts to stir.

Can giant have it both ways?

Hard question for giant.

Giant think.

Giant tired.

Giant sleep.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 9, 2013 at 7:02 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

CD,

Pocahontas grossed $346M for Disney, so what's your point about Indians? It's kinda' surprising to read you're taking up the mantle for Indian causes. Does that mean that you only have a problem with Mexicans of European descent and not Mexicans of Native descent?

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