Finally, The Truth About Disney's 'Hidden Sexual Messages' Revealed

01/14/2015 10:51 am ET | Updated Jan 14, 2015
Archive Photos via Getty Images

The wonderful world of Disney has long been suspected of hiding subliminal sexual messages in its animated films. From inappropriate words hidden in the sky in "The Lion King" to suggestive language in "Aladdin," the evidence against the Mouse seems to mount up fast ... or does it?

In the age of the Internet, it's hard to tell what's real any more. For instance, an image of a purported sex scene in "Toy Story 3" went viral after the movie's release, but that just turned out to be a well-executed hoax.

To learn the truth behind the supposed sexual images in Disney films, HuffPost Entertainment spoke with former Disney animator Tom Sito. Even though you didn't know it, Sito was a big part of your childhood. His credits include "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and more. Now teaching animation at USC, Sito took some time to school us on what's real and what's misinformation when it comes to those scandalous Disney scenes.

Without further ado, here's the truth behind some of Disney's most controversial moments:

1. Does the bishop get aroused in "The Little Mermaid"?

What appears to happen:

The bishop seems like he enjoys weddings a little too much. A close look at the man during the marriage scene in "Little Mermaid" appears to show him getting an erection.

The explanation:

It turns out that Sito was the actual artist who created the bishop character and drew the scene. "It's his knees," he said about the infamous moment. "The joke was he’s a little man standing on a box and his robes, his big bishop robes, are draped over everything so they’re covering his whole body. And people are just seeing what they want to see."

2. Does Aladdin tell teens to get naked?

What appears to happen:

While having some trouble with Rajah, Aladdin seems to say, "Good teenagers take off your clothes." You can hear it as Jasmine opens the curtains. It's at that moment that your pre-teen self would giggle and hit the rewind button over and over.


Image: Giphy

The explanation:

According to the "Aladdin" director's commentary, the line is actually an ad-lib to extend the scene. It's supposed to say something like, "Good tiger. Take off. Scat. Go!"

Adding to the evidence that the controversial line is just misheard, Sito told us, "The two animators who were doing that sequence are both, like, very religious guys ... that’s not their sense of humor."

3. Is there really a naked woman in "The Rescuers"?

What appears to happen:

An image of a naked woman appears in the background as Bianca and Bernard speed by, resulting in your mom never allowing you to watch the movie again.

The explanation:

"[In] the first 'Rescuers' there was the nudey picture," says Sito. The animator went on to explain that when there was a reedition of the movie, a lot of the original executives who produced the video tape were gone. Not knowing about the naked image, the new executives used the original negative from 1977 in the reedition. This reportedly led to a major recall.

"If somebody had asked an artist, he would say, 'Oh yeah, there’s a naked picture in there. I mean, the Playboy centerfold. Everybody knows that.' Everybody who was in animation knew about the centerfold. But nobody asked us," added Sito.

4. Does the word "Sex" appear in "The Lion King"?

What appears to happen:

After Simba kicks up some dust, the word "sex" appears in the sky and your childhood is ruined.

The explanation:

According to Sito, the word isn't a subliminal sexual message. It's just a shout out to the special effects department. The animator says, "It doesn’t say 'sex.' It says special effects. It’s SFX."

Whether it's Sid's suspected appearance in "Toy Story 3" or Rapunzel showing up in "Frozen," Disney films are full of easter eggs. And it appears this is one of them as well.


Image: Giphy

5. Does Jessica Rabbit have a wardrobe malfunction?

What appears to happen:

After a cartoon car crash in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," Jessica Rabbit is thrown from the vehicle and it appears that her "nether regions" are exposed. Or wait ... does it? That was kind of fast.

The explanation:

Appearances can be deceiving, but reportedly not in this case. According to Variety, there was a run on copies of the movie after the word got out that animators had Jessica Rabbit appear without underwear in a few frames. Later editions of "Roger Rabbit" were reportedly digitally altered to give Mrs. Rabbit appropriate coverage.

Though Sito didn't confirm the scandalous scene, he explained that adding inside jokes into older films wasn't considered a big deal. "You know in pre-video and pre-VHS and VCR and stuff, people used to put little inside jokes in films because things were running at 1/24 of a second," said Sito. "So you say, 'Well, nobody’s seeing anything.’ ... And then so [cartoonists] will do that as a joke. But really since the modern age of playing back stuff and everything, they look at everything now, even the old films. They’ll go frame by frame, and they’ll pull those questionable things out all the time."

When asked if he'd share any other inside jokes or hidden sexual humor, Sito laughed. "Well, if there was, I’m not telling," he said. "It gives people something to do on a rainy day."

Now that's what we call a Happy Ending.


Image: Giphy

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