Let's Talk About Sex: The Disney Controversy

Amber Trammell


  1. For generations, Disney has managed to capture the hearts of children and adults worldwide with their movies. These movies offer as sense of escape, where one can live in the innocence of youth. Filled with whimsical characters, lovely ballads, and fairy tale ideals, Disney manages to create a magical world for us to lose ourselves in, even if only for a few moments. Overtime, Disney has become notorious for slipping different references in their movies almost as a game between the cartoonist and viewer to see if the viewer will notice. For example, in the movie Hercules there is a scene where Hercules is wearing a lion skin made of Scar from Lion King
  2. A Comedy Scene From Hercules!!!
  3. Another example, would be Mrs. Pots and Chip Cup from Beauty and the Beast in Tarzan during the "Trashing the Camp" scene. They are a lot less animated but it is them none the less. 
  4. But what happens when these animators give into temptation and decide to sneak in a few other references, these a bit more risky then usual? Disney gets in to heap of trouble leading to legal issues and we have interesting stories for years to come. Here are a list of famous controversies involving Disney and their subliminal messages.
  5. controversial images in The Rescuers (1977)
  6. This scene of The Rescuers  faced a lot of backlash in 1999 in its home entertainment release for containing a risky image. During this scene, Bianca and Bernard are racing throughout the city on an albatross. As they pass by a set of windows, a picture of a topless woman can be seen in one of the windows. This took almost two decades to identify and once it was brought Disney's attention, the company recalled 3.4 million copies of the video (Davies).
  7. A more popular scandal concerns The Little Mermaid. This particular controversy was not over the actual film but the promotional artwork. In the background of the poster, there is a part of the castle that clearly resembles the shape of a penis. The original rumor was that the artist who created the piece was on the verge of being fired and created the image as a backlash. However, the artist negates this rumor and explains that this was not intentional and that in a rush to meet his deadline he failed to realize what he had drawn (Copeland). But even if one were to excuse his explanation The Little Mermaid faced another popular accusation. 
  8. In this scene of The Little Mermaid, Ursula attempts to marry Prince Eric. As the camera pans to the minister, there was some speculation concerning the bulge in his pants giving the appearance of an erection. Some argue that the bulge is the minister's knees since he is short and stumpy(Copeland). But neither of the two explanations has been confirmed or denied.
  9. In Lion King, there is a clip where Simba flops down on a cliff. And as the dust over ahead starts to rise it forms the letters S-E-X. Now whether this was done on purpose is the root of a lot of debates today. Some say it was added in on purpose, some blame the lighting of the frame and others say that the dust spells S-F-X which is a signature of the special effects team to leave their mark (Mikkelson).
  10. Walt Disney's "Aladdin" Subliminal Message?
  11. In this scene of Aladdin, Aladdin invites Princess Jasmine to a magical carpet ride. But while on the balcony he has a little rustle tussle with Raja (Jasmine's pet tiger). It sounds as if Aladdin says "Good teenagers take of their clothes" but in the script it states "Good Kitty, take off and go." The two statements are so similar that it its hard to decide which one he actually said but this caused a little controversy once released to video.
  12. Jessica Rabbit Car Crash
  13. In  Who Killed Roger Rabbit? there is a scene where cartoon vixen Jessica Rabbit is thrown out of the car. And for the few seconds she flies threw the air, it appears that the animators forgot to add underwear under her dress. It happens so fast you might miss it watching the clip. However, it is clearly scene in the pictures of the frame.
  14. The last controversy I will mention involves the movie Tangled. This is a very debatable picture and I will leave it to your eyes to make the conclusion. In this promotional image for the movie. The main star Rapunzel has the thief tangled in her long hair. It is argued that one can see the the letters S.E.X spelled out in her hair. But I would say that it is hard to determine looking at the original image. This image like many others have put Disney through a lot of scandal. But the biggest problem with subliminal messages is proving that the actual exist and that it's not a mere coincidence. Disney has managed to have it's share in sneaky animators sneaking in daring images and when the get caught the tend to face the repercussions. However, that does not mean every "sublimnal" message someone shows you is truth. 

    Works Cited
    "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.
    Davies, Jonathan."Dis Calls in 'Rescuers' After Nude Images Found."  The Hollywood Reporter. n.d. Web 29 Apr. 2013.
    Copeland, Donny. Discovering the Dirt behind Disney Movies. n.d. Web 29 Apr. 2013.
    Mikkelson, Barbra and David. "The letters S-E-X are formed by a swirling cloud of dust in The Lion King". n.d. Web 29 Apr. 2013.