Disney denies father's request to put Spider-Man on son's gravestone

Thousands have since signed a petition supporting the British father, who lost his four-year-old son to a rare disease

Disney has turned down a father's request to use an image of Spider-Man on his son's grave. AP 
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He was Ollie Jones's favourite superhero, but Spider-Man will not sit on the four-year-old Marvel fan's grave.

Disney has turned down a British father's request to feature the comic-book character on his son's memorial, citing a company policy to preserve the "magic" of its heroes.

Ollie, who died from the genetic disease leukodystrophy last year, was a super-fan of the character, also known as Peter Parker. The boy, who spent his last holiday in Disneyland meeting Spider-Man, was buried in a themed funeral, and his father, Lloyd Jones, hoped to feature an image of the copyrighted superhero on Ollie's grave in tribute.

However, upon reaching out for permission to use the character's likeness, the Walt Disney Company, which owns the Marvel franchise, turned down Jones's request.

“We have striven to preserve the same innocence and magic around our characters that brought Ollie such joy," the company wrote to the father of six, according to the South West News Service.

“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."

Disney instead enclosed a personalised celluloid frame, featuring a scene from Spider-Man, with a message for Ollie.

"I really wasn't expecting this – it's another massive blow. I felt sure they would allow it," Jones told the Kent Messenger.

"I think this is all about money. 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."

A petition started by Jones's friend has subsequently been signed by more than 8,000 people, calling on Disney to reconsider its decision.

A spokesperson from the Joneses local authority, Maidstone Borough Council, said they were working with the family.

"Sadly, these types of stones have to adhere to copyright and while we understand this is a very emotional time for the family we have made contact with Marvel to ensure the family are complying with their terms and conditions," the statement detailed, according to The Independent.