Top Five Family Animations That Have Caused Controversy

January 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

Cartoons are basically the visual manifestation of all the twisted, derailed trains of thought of their creators. To a four year old it seems totally acceptable that cats might play saxophones and that dogs are capable of eating food in such a way that it’s romantic rather than bizarre and borderline sickening, but when adults do it the whole exercise takes on an entirely new and disturbing aspect.

I mean, seriously, what sort of guy can get up every morning to go to an office where he draws mermaids?

The sort of guy who wears an entirely colour-matched outfit and calls it his “Tuesday ensemble? or the sort of guy who likes putting pictures of private parts in kids’ movies, that’s who. I know who I’d rather be friends with.

The Little Mermaid

The fact that this is basically a movie about inter-species relationships is generally ignored by those who show it to their children, but it’s well worth remembering that on a very basic level this movie is about a guy who wants to get intimate with a fish.

The Little Mermaid also has a picture of a penis in it. You know how Ariel’s dad is this big muscled guy with a huge trident who spends most of the time talking to a crab and firing supercharged liquid at an enormous witch/octopus hybrid out of aforesaid trident?

He also lives in an underwater palace which is held up by penis-pillars.

I’m not saying this is in anyway unusual for merman kings, but I’m just not sure it’s entirely appropriate for a family audience.

The Lion King

The Lion King is awesome in all sorts of ways.

Firstly, lion cubs are basically the cutest things ever, and talking lion cubs with massive crushes on each other are even better. Secondly, Scar is the only movie villain I’ve ever been scared of – granted I was about 4 when I woke up in cold sweats after dreams of being chased by him, but Scar was still a great baddie. Thirdly, that monkey guru thing was just so cool, and I’ve got this friend who does yoga and constantly reminds me of him.

But what if the real reason I like the Lion King is because sex sells? About halfway through the film, Simba lies down and a cloud of dust rises from him and floats over the edge of a cliff. It then blows around a bit and very briefly forms the word “SEX?.

Now, Disney allege that the letters spell out SFX as a tribute to the sound company that worked on Lion King, but that seems a little tenuous. How many films reference their backroom staff quite so obviously?


This one’s not quite as obvious, and there’s no pictures that really show it, because it’s actually in something Aladdin says. At one point, Aladdin invites Jasmine for a magic carpet ride (stop snickering at the back, it’s obviously totally innocuous) after some sort of song and dance. He shouts for Jasmine to come with him, then is heard muttering under his breath.

What he’s saying is pretty vague, and Disney claim that he’s whispering “good kitty…take off and go?, which is kind of strange in its own right, but it does sound suspiciously like “teenagers take off your clothes?.

Personally, I think Aladdin would have been hugely improved, and would have attracted a broader audience, if there’d been more of the same in the script.

The Rescuers

Disney again, and this is the only one they haven’t even tried to refute.

In fact, it was Disney who brought this one into the limelight. Generally, the image of topless woman in the background of this shot of the Rescuers flight scene would never have been noticed, only featuring on one frame of the 1977 theatrical release and any home releases up until 1992. However, the company decided to recall 3.4 million copies of the Rescuers because of the “questionable background image?.

Disney don’t accept responsibility for the picture, saying that it was inserted in post-production.

OntheBox’s official view on this? “I like boobs? – A. Allen, writer.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Whilst not strictly a family movie, this one definitely deserves a mention for its unabashed sexual references (it has even been hypothesised that when Jessica Rabbit comes out in that slit dress that she is “doing a Britney? and going commando) and also because two of the cartoon world’s most venerable, respected characters are involved in one of the more offensive cartoon moments. At one point Disney’s Donald Duck seems to call Warner’s Daffy Duck a “goddamn stupid n*gger?.

Whilst it’s been refuted, it’s kind of hard to believe in a corporation founded by a famed anti-Semite and virulent capitalist.

Please do let us know if there are any we’ve missed out on – it’s always worth a giggle on a Tuesday evening. However, we reserve the right not to publish images – keep it PG, guys.

By Chris Harding

You thought THAT was controversial? Pfft. Check out our video-heavy list of the Top 6 Unintentionally Hilarious On-Screen Deaths! And while you’re here, why not check out our list of the 9 Cartoons You’d Never Want Your Kids Watching (wrong on SO many levels) or Death By Random – 10 Weirdest Movie Deaths