Last week after word got out that Disney was seeking to trademark “Día de los Muertos” in preparation for its 2015 release of a Pixar animated feature inspired by the traditional Mexican holiday, several online communities were outraged. The backlash kicked into high gear when cartoonist and illustrator Lalo Alcaraz shared a poster of a Godzilla-like Mickey Mouse under the words, “It’s coming to trademark your cultura.” [Go here to see Alcaraz’s cartoon via Pocho.com.]
Social media has always kept Disney in check, and this time is no different. Latino Rebels, an online community that has done a terrific job of tracking Disney’s depiction of Latino culture, helped handle and report on the groundswell of public outcry over the last few weeks. After several petitions and pressure, Disney announced last Tuesday that they would withdraw the trademark filing, claiming that it was no longer necessary since they had changed the title of the fim.
In an interview with Cartoon Brew, William Nericcio, a scholar specializing in the representation of Latinos in American pop culture and author of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America, said, “[Hollywood’s] attitude towards culture is like a pelt hunter from the 19th century. They need the skin that people recognize and value in order to sell a project that will yield predictable profits.”