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

ShadowBall says:

Ehh, these all sound like urban legends. People – especially Americans – loooove to get offended over everything. They go out of their way to be offended by anything in the media, especially animation. Cartoons are a huge scapegoat because idiots think that ALL cartoons are for children. Let me tell you something – I remember being a little kid and seeing some of the more subtle racism in old Tom and Jerry cartoons or Tex Avery toons. I remember hearing jokes that only later in life did I realize were adult in nature. All this offensive material flew right over my head. Kids will not be scarred for life by something that they don’t even realize is offensive. It’s the adults who make a big deal out of stupid crap.

Also, @K, Kovu states at one point in the film that Scar was not his father. His mother also says that he was “handpicked by Scar to become king.” I guess he was adopted? But in any case, consider that among prides of lions, there is a bunch of females and usually only one male. This means that Simba and Nala were related and their daughter was the product of incest. Also, if we’re talking about incest in Disney, the doe that Bambi mates with (I forget her name) is his cousin. When the two are introduced, I believe Bambi is told that the girl fawn’s mother is his aunt. Of course no one notices this. They only notice when they think they see “sex” written in dandelion seeds.

Sam says:

Even if it does spell sex…it doesn’t spell it right away, you can only see it through a time lapse
And with the penis pillars, it’s just a bunch of guys having fun

It’s not like there was a spike in underage sex when these films were released so I don’t see why everyone is freaking out

skippy says:

hi, well that made me laugh thankyou for that, its true my kids have all of the Disney movies so i’ve whizzed through them to find the things your describing and sure enough after a gasp and a laugh its there. Maybe the ones people didn’t return when they were recalled for the reasons you outlined,maybe just maybe they’ll become collectors items.What do you think? LOL

K says:

In The Lion King & The Lion King 2:
Scar has a kid, Kovu.
Simba has a kid, Kiara.
Scar is Simba’s Uncle.
So Kiara and Kovu are related.

Congratulations on having one with the most sophisticated blogs Ive arrive across in some time! Its just incredible how a lot you can take away from something simply simply because of how visually beautiful it is. Youve put together an excellent blog space –great graphics, videos, layout. This is definitely a must-see weblog!

Dave says:

wow. you need a hobby.

Pebbles Jr. says:

I love the irony,a bunch of pervs looking for problems, and after we add the fact that you’ll find somthing if you look hard enough.

Katie says:

I’ve watched these movies growing up! you’re making a huge deal out of this, blowing it out of proportion. Never once did I notice any of these things. Interesting facts though…but ridiculous.

Miranda says:

awhh (: it looks like someone has no life !
when i saw the little mermaid ; a penis was no where in my mind when i looked at the cover
so whos the real pervert? why are yuu checking out childrens movies & looking for sexual things ?

Rock not Sand says:

It’s the principle of the matter. What ever happened to living by your principles? Is it a dying art?

The point is we are trusting this company to entertain our kids in an appropriate and acceptable way. This is NOT appropriate or acceptable, regardless of whether we catch it while viewing the movie. Someone who gets their kicks and giggles from putting this “message” into child-marketed entertainment is NOT someone who I want to trust with my kid’s minds. Who cares about the actual image, let’s look at the principle.

jghv says:


layni says:

i love how everyone is so uptite about sexual ineuendo, or any reference to sex in these movies, but it is practically unheard of nowadays to see a “good” horror movie without any female nudity, or someone having sex. granted these are little kid movies, but they watch horror too. you just don’t make a big fuss out of it if they do see it in horror movies it’s considered “over their heads”. what’s the difference? it’s over their heads in disney movies too.

lolipop. says:

yeah iv heard about this stuffs before. never seen it till now but i really think its no big deal. like the rescuers thing its one frame and no kid is really going to see that sh*t anyways. i suppose it could be a subliminal message thing. but i think its just some plot for parents to get compensation.

Rich says:

Apart from the Rescuers (and the original cut of the Lion King) most of these are bollocks.
And I imagine there are far more controversial animations than Aladdin, although I always thought the fact that the main character was a thief quoted as saying ‘got to eat to live, got to steal to eat’ was a questionably role model: Get a day-job you lazyass bum! Waiting for a friggin’ genie to do all the hard work…

Oh yeah and Daffy Duck says NITWIT.

jim jim says:

Those who have been blaming christians,
I am a christian, but i also find nothing wrong with these things. yes sex is a part of life, and the children don’t know enough about sex to really be harmed by any of this. so stop insulting my religion and find a lagitimate excuse.

Kat says:

In Aladdin, in the cave of wonders, after Abu touches the statue and the cave begins to collapse, while he is standing on the stones in the lava and they are disappearing, Abu clearly say “Oh S**t!!!” in monkey language.

blahblah says:

You know those pictures that a psychologist uses on their patients and asks them, “what do you see in this picture?” …. Yup, this blogger is on crack, not the animators.

SmartAss says:

What about CoolWorld? This has got to be on the list!!

booboogirl says:

don’t you all have better things to do with your limited time on earth?

julian says:

I think this theory of yours, is really lame and stupid. Your the only fagot who sees a dick in little mermaid or the word sex in lion king. Get a life you damn idiot.

bwad says:

I say so what to all this. Sex is part of life. What story would be complete without some reference to sex, sexuality, how we feel, what we need, how we survive. Why would we want to protect our children from this. Any child will come to understand what they are seeing either by reference or by explanation.

jeff says:

OH, come on….this is ridiculous. I smell far right Christian, sitting in the living room filled with indignation set on finding something wrong about these cartoons their children love so much….why can’t we make a cartoon out of the bile?! Wait, we have!…and it wasn’t watched nearly as much, or only as a catechism!! You all disgust me…..leave the kids alone, they will find their religion themselves it it is truly meant to be.

jesterfanatic says:

Response to emily on February 5th, 2009 2:20 am:

Then your time must be WORTHLESS if you had enough to write a comment that lengthy. :rofl:

Joey says:

This is stupid. Even if all this was true, little kids aren’t going to notice it. I saw these movies when I was a kid and never noticed anything till I got older and someone told me. Get off Disney’s balls. They’ve made some great movies.

Metqa says:

I love how Emily Claimed that the black centaur is obviously photoshopped. What because you can see the pixel? Oh no, you can see the widdle pixels so it must weally be fake dwawing, cause I’m so smart I know evwyting. So the entire video clip of the animation showing the black centaur prancing around, preening the white skin centaur was all recently photoshopped also? Who the hell would bother to make a new (old) racist animation just to make a dig on a dead man’s company. seriously, stupid “shopped” comments!

at minute 1:00 polishing the hoof, 2:13 & 2:20 putting flowers in the tail, at 2:56 carrying the train of flowers, and if you didn’t notice, when they all paired off it was the blue male with the blue female, the red male with the pink female, the dark purple male with the light purple female, the tanned skinned male with the tanned skin female, the brown male with the beige female, and who did they find for the lonely indigo male? A lonely Indigo female. Can’t claim none of that was Photoshopped. they have to keep the colors separated, can’t let them interbreed.

at 7:58 the little black centaur is rolling out the carpet for Bacchus, even though the zebra centaurs are his attendants.

So, who photoshopped all of that?

Megan says:

Get a life…disney is a legend for many decades and still to come…your just jealous cuz u werent as successful and great and famous as him…he made a different in alot of little kids lives….get a life..

popeye says:

I don’t know about all these, but the original Popeye cartoons in sepia tone and even later are filled with clearly understandable profanity and sexual references. Know how Popeye mutters so much? Well, he’s saying some stuff that would make you blush. And it’s very,very easy to hear. You just have to listen with the sound turned up.

kate says:

In the beginning of Aladdin, a street salesmen guy is trying to sell Aladdin something, and he mentions it can be used as a hookah.

not TOO bad.. but still kind of inappropriate for the age level.

Jeanne says:

Dude, seriously! What a load of crap!
If you have a filthy mind, it’s not to say that movie writers do.
If you want something to post here that’s not just based on innuendo and imagination, rather do a search on all the Walt Disney cartoons (from the 40′s) that were banned.

ryan says:

Its all pretty funny stuff. Really people need to stop getting so offended by things like this. I think people forget that these movies are made by adults, not kids. If I were animating stuff like that, I would be sorely tempted to throw in a few little fun things for myself.

crak'd says:

i like cheese too.


one of the NINE corporations that owns the world.. of course they’ll force-feed sex to their audience, they want more money from parents making the babies they’re writing for

olstar18 says:

Ok first there is a difference between refuted and disproven. Most of these are disproven especialy the so called erection the priest had in little mermaid, that was his knee. The aladdin bit is just like the ‘hidden message’ on stairway to heaven. People hear what they want to hear and apparantly they want to hear garbage about nudity. The who framed upskirt clip was because of colors clashing and the donald duck quote is bs. He said ‘dog gone stupid little.’ It is another case of people hearing what they want to hear. The rescuers yeah that one is what it looks like. Not sure how it got past the editors unless they were the ones that put it in.

tommy says:

I guess on number 4 the real question is who is going through this frame by frame…

bookmark says:

a lot of thaeas are funny and most are true, the artist have to amuse themselves somehow, and this is one way of doing it. most movies (esspecially kid ones) have things like that and obsucre jokes so the parents dont kill themselves when watching it with the kid. not to mention that most of thease movies are acctually based off of extremly bloody fairy tales, the versions we hear today are not the ture ones. like in the little mirmade, when she comes out of the water she dies. and in the hunchback of notradam they both die and the book was really only written to save the church in the first place. if the book hadent been written the curch was going to be destryoed.
but iv gone a bit off topice, my piont is things like that are for the older generations so we can have fun watching it with the kids, and for the catroonists own fun too. says:

Funny about all the penises in little mermaid, since it’s so strongly rooted in feminist imagery [Glass ceiling=ocean meets the sky; being forced into sacrifice for the sake of a man; and whatnot]

what? i think you’ve over analyzed the little mermaid.

Thomas says:

This is what we get when someone was born in the ’90s.

You also forgot Grumpy buggering Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Crockettman says:

This cover of the Little Mermaid is real. My cousin has the VHS, and if you look close, it’s even veiny, it is definitely supposed to be a penis that looks like a pillar, not a pillar that looks like a penis.

Rey says:

You can’t envision a scenario where the sfx department puts in a cool little thing where they spell out sfx? Pretty lame.

pepper says:

disney you nasty bast@rd$

Robert Jones says:

First of all. In the Lion King it’s dandelion seeds and it does not spell “SEX” it in fact spells “SFX” for special effects. It is a brief homage to the special-FX team for making the movie. The reason why it looks like sex is because the word Sex is more known and more widely received than the abbreviation S.F.X. So our brain identifies it with next closest fitting word. The same way we see shapes in clouds.

hawkmaster says:

to go of subject a little has any one else seen the close ups of the close encounters mother ship there are references to other films in the model ie a r2d2 on the mothership

Jennifer Sedgewick says:

The priest doesn’t have an erection, that is his knee bone.
If you look at the picture, it shows his knee bone on the one leg, and that ‘erection’ is the other leg.


emily says:

1. The number one rule of reading things on the internet while you should be doing whatever productive thing you think you’re capable of is: If someone posted something (like this) that you object to, but there is at least one person who has given positive feedback, leave the page, because nothing you can say will change the fact that it’s on the internet. The author’s time has already been wasted (or, in my opinion, used as well as it possibly could have been) and by this point, so is yours.
2. You’d think that if these claims were so obviously bullshit, people would stop talking about it… or maybe not. Whatever.
3. It’s unreasonable to get upset, as an adult viewer of movies from childhood, about the occurrence of these in the first place. It’s dumb to get upset about when another adult points it out, or what he has to say about it. The fact that kids really won’t get these references is so solid that when we find out about it later on, it truly seems like a personal gift from Walt Disney himself… Like he wanted us to know he cares about our adolescent humor, not just our innocent stupefied concentration on the cartoons. Hah, okay, that’s definitely a stretch, but a decent theory nonetheless, I hope…
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is almost entirely sex-oriented, which is perfectly okay. Kids aren’t really interested in what detectives were really like in the 30s; that’s more for the adults in the room who can appreciate it for as much historical commentary as you can get from a cartoon, while the kids are captivated by the mystique of live action/animation relationships. Detectives in that era definitely had sex appeal, and I’m not saying Eddie Valiant was sexy, but the situations he gets into and the relationships he has are definitely of a sexual nature. It’s as accurate as they’re going to get, and that’s just cute.
5. On, they mention that Walt Disney didn’t include maternal figures in his cartoons because he blamed himself for his mother’s death. If I’m not mistaken, Snow White was his first full-length feature, and right after that was when his mother died. Then came Sleeping Beauty, which was the beginning of the motherless cartoons made at Disney’s studio. It was not mentioned, though, that in Snow White, the only mother-type was the evil stepmother, which could lead us to believe (considering his mother had so much influence over his work posthumously) that perhaps they didn’t have the best relationship when she was alive… and that maybe his concern about his role in the death wasn’t unwarranted…?
6. That picture of the black centaur is obviously photoshopped.