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The "SEX" Controversy

A scandal arose from a certain scene in The Lion King that has never fully died down. This is the contention that the word "SEX" can be seen in the swirling pollen and dust that rises from the edge of the cliff when Simba flops down in weariness and grief after stargazing with Timon and Pumbaa.

These four images show the scene in question, with enhancements and adjustments that help to show where the controversy arises.

1. Original screen-shot 2. Patterns of potential letters highlighted
3. Contrast enhanced to intensify patterns 4. Patterns in increased-contrast image highlighted

It should be noted that it is not possible to select a single still frame that accurately shows all letters in their "incriminating" forms at once. The full effect of the word's formation is conveyed over the course of one or two seconds, with some "letters" forming at different times than others do.

So, the question remains: Is the word "SEX" really in there on purpose? We may never know. Some will argue that it's impossible for it to have appeared this blatantly on accident; others will say it's just a coincidental and unfortunate trick of the light (especially considering that it comes at one of the least "sexy" points in the entire movie). Some will say that if animators were going to sneak in a word like this just to be cute, "SEX" is an obvious choice; others will say it looks more like "SFX", or "Special Effects". Some will say it's visible as clear as day; others will claim that you can only see it if you already know it's there and are specifically looking for it.

Whatever you conclude, my personal editorial opinion is that even if the word "SEX" were in fact conciously put into the movie as some might see it, I think we can agree that it has not led to uncontrolled spikes in the rate of children having sex after watching The Lion King. Come on. Grow up.

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