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Is Disney's The Lion King Poster Hiding A 'Steamy' Secret?

"The Lion King" is practically the zenith of Disney Animation. It's easily one of the best Disney movies of all time, with its catchy songs and empowering themes. However, there are certain details to the story of Simba (Matthew Broderick) becoming king that Disney likely wants people to stop talking about, such as the intellectual property controversy that's plagued "The Lion King" for decades. There's another scandal that hasn't quite caught on as much, but the internet still discusses from time to time. 

The "Lion King" poster for the film's 2002 re-release sees Mufasa (James Earl Jones) as a sky deity, looking upon his son. It harkens to Mufasa's spirit speaking to Simba in one of the movie's most memorable and touching scenes, but many seem to think Mufasa's design on the poster is unwittingly scandalous. If you look closely, Mufasa's muzzle almost looks like a topless woman with her back turned. His nose could be seen as her underwear, while her arms are ever-so-slightly raised. 

To be honest, such a theory probably says more about the people who see a half-naked woman in the poster than the poster designers. It's almost like a Rorschach test for people who want to find adult jokes and references in any kids' project imaginable. And it's not the only time "The Lion King" has found itself embroiled in such a controversy that probably didn't mean anything more in the first place. 

Some thought The Lion King had a dirty message in some dust

It would seem the internet is hell-bent on ruining people's childhoods, constantly wanting to find dirty jokes and references within Disney projects. One of the most infamous is the banned "Little Mermaid" VHS cover with an explicit secret, namely a phallic-looking tower. That one was actually supposed to be an inside joke, but for years, people have pointed to a seemingly filthy reference in "The Lion King" that's a lot more harmless than some might believe.

In the film's original cut, Simba falls to the ground near a cliff, releasing a bunch of dust into the air. Many people asserted that if you look closely within this cloud, you can see the word "SEX" spelled out. However, animator Tom Sito eventually set the record straight, asserting the word is actually supposed to be "SFX," as a nod to the special effects department. It's a simple mistake, especially seeing as the "F" appears to have an extra line on the bottom so that it could be misconstrued as an "E." Even if it was a total accident, Disney decided to obscure the lettering entirely for the 2002 IMAX re-release (the one that had the "dirty" Mufasa poster) and 2003 DVD release.

Sometimes, animators try to get away with adult jokes in children's properties. In other instances, people see what they want to see, even when the adult humor isn't supposed to be there in the first place. It's an intriguing litmus test and a good reminder that in an age where people can pause and go through a movie frame by frame, if there's anything unseemly to be found, audiences are going to discover it.