A grieving family has been told to remove a temporary headstone including an image of Spider-Man from a little boy’s grave after creating the tombstone against the wishes of both the cemetery and Disney.
Ollie Jones, 4, died in December after battling leukodystrophy, a rare genetic disease. The boy was buried at Maidstone Cemetery, which is where the boy’s father, Lloyd, wanted to mark his grave with a specially designed “Spider-Man” headstone. Spider-Man was the boy’s favorite character of all time and the family even made a point to make his funeral themed after the web-slinging character in his honor. Although, Maidstone Borough Council halted the plans as they said the family needed permission from Marvel. In compliance with the cemetery, the family reached out to Disney, who also rejected their proposal.
While considering their options for the late boy’s official gravestone, the family decided to put up a temporary headstone, which featured the Marvel Comics character. Ollie’s dad Lloyd said: “We put up a temporary plastic grave last week. I loved it and I’m sure Ollie does too.
But since the temporary stone still went against both Disney and the cemetery’s usage rights and policies, Lloyd says the temporary stone’s life was short-lived. “The council told us to take it down as soon as they found out. They told us we couldn’t have it,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd went on to share that he has been experiencing a lot of stress since the loss of his son. He shared: “I’m trying to take it a bit easier, I threw myself into work after Ollie died, now I think I need to slow down a bit.”
A US copyright lawyer has since reached out to the family offering to take Disney on, pro-bono, in an attempt to get Ollie’s gravestone approved. Lloyd said: “My brother got a letter through from a lawyer. It says he has taken on Disney before and won. I don’t know exactly how it all works, but it’s nice there’s all this support.”
Since the news first broke of Disney denying the family’s request to use Spider-Man’s image on the gravestone, more than 140,000 people have signed a petition asking Disney to reconsider. Disney has not responded to the petition.
Source: Kent Online