Disney have distanced themselves from a range of bulletproof children’s backpacks featuring the Avengers and other popular characters, just days after two mass shootings took place in the US.
Company TuffyPacks launched the new range of bags – designed to protect children from handgun bullets – last month. While they were unveiled to coincide with the Back-To-School shopping period, the timing of their arrival has faced controversy due to this past weekend’s attacks in the States.
The ‘Ballistic Shield’ backpacks come in a number of themes – including ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Disney Princess’, ‘Avengers’ and more. However, the products have not been endorsed by Disney, who are now looking to halt sales of the unofficial merchandise.
“None of these products were authorised 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 says in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter).
It’s reported that sales for the bags increased by between 300 per cent and 500 per cent in the wake of the recent shootings, though exact figures have not been publicly released.
TuffyPack’s founder and CEO Steve Naremore said that “it’s been a busy couple of days”, but added, “it’s a sad, sad, sad world that this [product] has to exist.”
A shooting took place in the early hours of Sunday morning (August 4) at a Walmart in the Texas border city of El Paso. The attacker – reported as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius – killed 20 people and left a further 26 injured. Elsewhere in Dayton, Ohio, nine people lost their lives after a gunman opened fire outside a bar in the city’s Oregon District.
While figures from the music world paid tribute to the victims, Rihanna hit out at President Donald Trump over his stance on gun control. “Imagine a world where it’s easier to get an AK-47 than a VISA!,” the pop star said in a post on social media.