Disney Animator Speaks Out on “Obscene” Hidden Message In Classic Film

in Disney, Movies

simba and scar the lion king

Credit: Disney

A former Disney Animator came forward to debunk an age-old rumor regarding an “obscene” message hidden in a classic Disney film.

The Walt Disney Company has been a staple of family fun for nearly a century, bringing magic to life with timeless stories that reach the hearts of millions of fans worldwide. However, some Disney projects have been tainted by rumors and controversies.

Mickey and Minnie 100 anniversary outfits
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Such was the case of The Lion King, which caused controversy among viewers almost immediately after being released in June of 1994. Many viewers started commenting they were seeing and hearing hidden messages in Disney films, which was all the rage at the time. For The Lion King, in particular, one of the most popular rumors was that the clouds of dust that formed after adult Simba flopped to the ground during one scene about halfway into the movie appeared to form the word “SEX.”

Former Disney Animator Tom Bancroft, who worked in the film, recently came forward to debunk this age-old myth, making it clear that there is no obscene message in the controversial scene.

simba in the lion king, animated by Disney animator Tom Bancroft
Credit: Disney

Related: Live-Action ‘The Lion King’ Prequel Coming In 2024

Bancroft (@tombancroft) posted a video on TikTok explaining what actually happened in that scene. In it, he explains that in the world of animation, people like him did the hand-drawn character animation and that if any scene had effects in it, it was then sent to the effects department to add any effects, whether that be fire, water, smoke, dust, or even a closing door.

Following that logic, the scene in which adult Simba flops and creates clouds of dust was hand-drawn by the effects department at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Tom then points out that the clouds do form letters, but not the ones the audience thought. The dust particles instead form the letters S-F-X, in reference to the film’s special effects (or SFX) department.

simba and scar the lion king
Credit: Disney

Tom ends his video by saying, “That is the truth. I don’t know if you ever heard the actual truth behind this, but now you know it, and go spread the word. not everything is evil.”

You can see the video below or click here to watch it. 

Finally, another “Disney Stories”! #BTS of the OG #thelionking and “Hidden Message” that went around the world in the mid 90s. Follow me for more #Disney #animation stories. #2danimation #simba #animator #disneyhistory

@tombancroft

Finally, another “Disney Stories”! #BTS of the OG #thelionking and “Hidden Message” that went around the world in the mid 90s. Follow me for more #Disney #animation stories. #2danimation #simba #animator #disneyhistory

♬ The Lion King – L’Orchestra Cinematique

Tom Bancroft worked in many Disney films in the 90s and early 2000s, including The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), and Brother Bear (2003), as well as the 1999 short How to Haunt a House, starring Goofy.

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