A subsidiary of Walt Disney Co. has announced it is withdrawing a trademark application for the name "Día de los Muertos" after an outcry from Mexican-American organizations, individuals and others.
"Día de los Muertos" is Spanish for "Day of the Dead," a commemoration in the autumn of deceased ancestors. The tradition predates Columbus, when it was celebrated by the Aztecs for a month.
“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 Tuesday.
“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.”
After word of the trademark application was made public a few days ago, Mexican-American leaders and organizations expressed their disdain that Disney would try to own the name of a centuries-old tradition.
“Our spiritual traditions are for everyone, not for companies like Walt Disney to trademark and exploit,” wrote Grace Sesma, the petition’s creator, according to The Times. “I am deeply offended and dismayed that a family-oriented company like Walt Disney would seek to own the rights to something that is the rightful heritage of the people of Mexico.”