Disney Faces Backlash to 'Hakuna Matata' Trademark - Articles

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Posted by: Chelsea Bennett on Dec 20, 2018

An online petition accusing Disney of cultural appropriation for trademarking the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata” is gaining traction, The Telegraph reports. More than 60,000 people have signed the petition, which was started by a Zimbabwean activist. Disney first applied to trademark the phrase in 1994 but was not granted rights until 2003. The trademark is still active, but it does not give the Hollywood studio the right to sue people for using the phrase in speech. The controversy began last month when a founder of a Kenyan intellectual property law firm wrote an article in a Kenyan newspaper. She cited the phrase as an example of “pilferage of African culture.” Disney is set to release a highly anticipated remake of the film next year featuring Beyonce and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s voices.