Disney has withdrawn its bid to trademark "Dia de los Muertos," or "Day of the Dead," after a heavy barrage of criticism from Mexicans and Americans who celebrate the traditional holiday.
The company had filed an application with US Patent and Trademark Office on May 1 to acquire the rights to the name of the November celebration, which honors the souls of deceased loved ones.
Disney was planning to use the name on merchandise used to promote a movie based on the holiday that they are working on with Pixar.
Horrified Latinos quickly took to the internet to express their outrage. A graphic by Los Angeles-based humorist Lalo Alcaraz featuring a skeleton Mickey Mouse crushing a city with the words "It’s coming to trademark your cultura (culture)" underneath quickly went viral, as did other impassioned social media posts.
"Some people saw it as an attempt to own our culture and profit from it," said Elainne Ramos, vice chair of nonprofit Latino social media group LATISM. "This is going to be a marketing case study on what not to do."
Though many are crediting the social media backlash for the decision to withdraw the trademark bid, the company claims the decision came from a change to the movie's title.
"Disney's trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities," a company statement said. "It has since been determined that the title of the film will change and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing."
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