Published: 06:00, 11 July 2019
| Updated: 07:40, 11 July 2019
Disney has been branded "petty" and "callous" for refusing to approve a little boy's Spider-Man gravestone.
Outrage has poured out across the globe against Disney, after it shunned Maidstone dad Lloyd Jones' plea to put a super-hero themed headstone at his son Ollie's grave.
KM's film critic Mike Shaw said today: "A company of this size flexing its muscles in such a petty way over a very local, personal issue, it's unlike anything I've seen."
Ollie Jones had a Spider-Man themed funeral in December after the four-year-old died of leukodystrophy.
Maidstone Borough Council said it needed Disney's approval to give Ollie the perfect grave.
Lloyd, who has five other children including a daughter with the same disease as Ollie, thought Disney would have no issue with approving the grave when he approached the Kent Messenger last month.
But it did. Last week the media giant turned down the family's request saying it didn't want its characters associated with death.
Mike Shaw argued: "It's got nothing to do with not being associated with death that's nonsense.
"Disney owns Marvel. You know, the franchise where millions of people die with the snap of a finger?
"This is all about protecting copyright.
"To play bureaucrats over something so emotive isn't a good look for any company, especially one that claims to exist to bring light to the lives of children."
Outrage has been voiced by thousands of readers, including a former Spider-Man actor who described the corporation as "unconscionable".
Mr Shaw said: "I'm certain Disney would have had internal conversations where they used the phrase 'if we do it for Ollie Jones and his family we'll have to do it for everyone.'
"That's true from their perspective but it doesn't make it any less callous.
"So what if they have to allow other parents to mourn their children buy using Marvel characters, who exactly is that hurting?
"I expect Disney is worried thousands of other families will take it as a green light to do something similar.
"But even if that is the case, so what? It's not going to cost them anything and they might help grieving people feel slightly less heartbroken.
"I cant imagine how awful it must be to lose a child and if Disney can do something, anything to make that process a little easier to deal with, it astounds me they wont do it."
On whether the scandal could affect Disney's reputation, Mr Shaw said: "I'd like to say yes but realistically no. It's too big.
"The company will donate money to a relevant charity and the story will go away.
"The only lasting effect will be the additional hurt inflicted on Ollie's family. It really is an awful situation and it says a hell of a lot about what Disney has become in 2019."
More by this authorLuke May