The Walt Disney Company is cracking down on the use of its characters on a series of ballistic backpack inserts featuring the unauthorized use of popular characters including The Avengers and various Disney princesses.
TuffyPacks LLC is a Texas-based company that, according to its website, "manufactures global defensive solutions to the ever increasing problem of active shooter incidents that are occurring at an alarming rate." These solutions include a selection of bulletproof backpacks and bulletproof backpack inserts designed to fit inside children's backpacks. The inserts are made of 24 layers of Twaron, a material similar to Kevlar, and can purportedly offer "ballistic protection from handgun fire and can stop multiple rounds."
Among the newest additions to the TuffyPacks line of products are a series of backpack inserts branded with characters popular with children. One insert features a comic book version of the Avengers, while another features various Disney princesses and another features a Harry Potter design. The themed backpack inserts, which were selling for $129 as of Tuesday morning, included the disclaimer "This product is not associated or affiliated with the original copyright owner" in each product description.
In the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend, one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton, Ohio, The Walt Disney Company has issued a demand that the company drop its characters from their products.
“None of these products were authorized by Disney, and we are demanding that those behind this stop using our characters or our other intellectual property to promote sales of their merchandise,” a spokesperson for Disney said in a statement to SYFY WIRE. Disney's initial public comments on the products were first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Reached for comment by SYFY WIRE, TuffyPacks CEO Steve Naremore said only that his company will indeed be pulling the branded products from their website while they conduct a "review."
"The items will be removed from the TuffyPacks.com website while we review our options for 'themed products,'" Naremore said via email.
Warner Bros. has also released a statement to SYFY WIRE via a spokesperson, distancing itself from TuffyPacks and its Harry Potter-themed product.
“These are not official ‘Harry Potter’ products," a spokesperson said, "and are in no way endorsed, licensed or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly, by Warner Bros."