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All Of The Wildest Disney Scandals

Unsplash | Travis Gergen
By Emily Reily

Disney, while it's been a pinnacle of children's entertainment for decades, still can't keep its head above water when it comes to national controversy and scandal.

There have been many of these scandals that have touched Hollywood over the years, but we'd like to delve into the most significant.

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Hidden Messages In Disney Films


The Gamer writes that a group called American Life League started saying that several Disney movies contained hidden images or messages.

Apparently the movie The Rescuers has a brief image of a woman with her breasts just out for everyone to see, while there may be some strange image hanging in the air during a scene from The Lion King.

Who's to say?

The Disney Gators

Unsplash | Hans-Jürgen Röttger

A real-life, deadly scandal has been brewing for the last several years. There have been stories about alligators roaming the waters near Disney Parks, but a recent incident caught national attention.

In 2016, Lane Graves, 2, was killed when he was pulled under by an alligator in a lagoon at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. The Gamer says staff had warned people about the dangerous animals about an hour before the attack, but it didn't matter.

Really, alligators or other large, toothy creatures should be nowhere near a place like Disney.

'Song of the South' and Its Hugely Racist Overtones

Giphy | Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

There was a 1946 Disney movie called Song of the South that was clearly racist in its portrayal of black people.

The live-action film had a few animated sections, but Song of the South mostly took place on a plantation after the Civil War.

People took issue with the fact that the film uses the black vernacular and portrays the plantation as a happy idyllic place, when it was not.

When the movie was released in the mid-40s, protestors picketed, and made up songs that went "Disney tells, Disney tells/lies about the South," set to "Jingle Bells."

The movie has never been released to home video in the U.S., though it's surfaced in other countries.

Terrible, Possibly Illegal Working Situations

Giphy | US National Archives

It's no secret that Disney has run afoul of labor laws over the years, as evidenced by reports of poor staff conditions in Disney's factories in China.

The Gamer states that some workers were not aware of Disney's code of conduct, but that wasn't the worst of it.

Employees were also allegedly subjected to long hours, low pay and crowded living spaces, to mention a few.

Portraying Old People As Bad People


Think about it: There's Cruella de Vil, a wiry lady who's mean to dogs in 101 Dalmations.

There's Ursula, the giant scary underwater antagonist in Little Mermaid.

Then there's the evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves who tries to ruin everyone's lives.

What do they all have in common? They're all terrible people who happen to be old.

You can see where this would be problematic, as there are plenty of ways to portray older people as nice and good, but Disney decided not to.

Apparently, a study backs up the claim that seeing all these cruel people in Disney films are adversely affecting how kids think about the older generation. And that's not very Disney at all.

John Lasseter

Wikimedia |

John Lasseter, who got his start as an animator with Disney, is one of the three creators of Pixar Animation Studios. He made a fortune off the success of Toy Story, but the fun times didn't last.

A story on Hollywood Reporter from 2017 mentions Lasseter's alleged proclivity for "grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes" of other employees.

The story adds that Toy Story 4 writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack left the production after Lasseter allegedly made an "unwanted advance," though Jones and McCormack later said they left due to "creative" and other differences.

In November, 2017, Lasseter took a six-month break from the company amid reports he had a history of alleged sexual misconduct with employees. He left Disney in 2018, and now helms Skydance Animation.

Boys Club Mentality

Disney may never be able to live down its reputation for being a boys club, especially when we now have proof of it.

Recently, a letter from 1938 surfaced from Disney to Mary V. Ford, who was applying to its animator training school. The letter straight up informed Ford that "girls are not considered" for creative jobs at Disney. Well then.

It may have been 1938 when that letter was written, but now, through the power of the Internet, it can live on to remind us of just how narrow-minded the cartoon giant can be.

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