Claim: The letters
Origins: About halfway to three-fourths of the
way through the film, Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon are lying on their backs, looking up at the stars.
arises, walks over to the edge of a cliff, and flops to the ground, throwing up a cloud of dust. Eddies of dust form and dissipate in the roiling cloud, and at one point the various curves and angles in these eddies appear to form the letters
Whether the image of the word “SEX” was deliberately planted in this scene or is merely a product of the power of suggestion is indeterminate. The letters seem readily apparent to those who know what they’re supposed to be looking for, but persons unfamiliar with the rumor rarely make them out even after being told to look for a word in the still-frame images. The generally accepted explanation is that the letters were slipped in by a special effects group (to form the abbreviation
A 4-year-old boy from
(How a mere 4-year-old could both spell and understand the significance of the word “sex” remains unexplained. When you want to charge a huge corporate conglomerate with slipping nasties into its supposedly wholesome children’s films, however, it’s best to pretend an unwitting child made the discovery. This method increases the outrage factor
Last updated: 18 February 2014
Bannon, Lisa. “How a Rumor Spread About Subliminal Sex in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’.” The Wall Street Journal. 24 October 1995 (p. A1). Goodykoontz, Bill. “3 Letters in Disney Spell ‘SIN’.” The Arizona Republic. 7 September 1995 (p. C1). Horowitz, Rick. “What Would Mickey Say?” The [Charleston] Post and Courier. 11 September 1995 (p. A7). Shull, Richard K. “From the Sublime to the Subliminal.” The Indianapolis News. 12 September 1995 (p. A9). Smith, Russell W. “Sex Seen (by Some) in Films by Disney.” Austin American-Statesman. 8 September 1995 (p. D1). Omaha World-Herald. “‘Filth’ Found in Disney Movies Is a Stretch of the Imagination.” 20 September 1995 (p. 20). Wisconsin State Journal. “‘Lion King’ Cops Need to Get a Life.” 11 September 1995 (p. A7).