Netflix removed an episode of the children's cartoon Maya the Bee after a drawing of a penis was spotted. The idea that adults are hiding inappropriate things in cartoons intended for children has been around for a long time. Disney is especially plagued by rumors. Viewers make claims that there is a penis hidden in the castle in the cover art for The Little Mermaid, or that the Priest who is supposed to marry Prince Eric has an erection. The dust that moves through the air when Simba flops down in The Lion King supposedly spells SEX. And Aladdin allegedly tells Raja the tiger something pretty inappropriate in his film. While excuses and explanations have been made for all of these, some of them were removed from future releases and some fans are still not convinced these were accidents or misunderstandings.
And with good reason. VHS tapes of the cartoon The Rescuers were recalled back in 1999 when Disney learned that a few frames of a topless women had been hidden in the film. The image was small and hard to see, it was shown through a window in an apartment building the two main characters - mice Bianca and Bernard - fly past on the back of a bird. Disney claimed that the image was inserted during post-production and was not the work of one of their artists, but the damage was done and they had to recall the tapes.
Now Netflix is facing a similar scandal. BoingBoing reported that in an episode of the children's show Maya the Bee a penis was clearly drawn on a cave wall. Netflix has since pulled the episode off the site, the 35th episode of the show's first season.
Maya was originally introduced in a German book in 1912. Since then, she has been the subject of movies, TV series, video games, anime, even an opera and a couple of musicals. The story in the series is about young Maya, who leaves her hive to explore the world. Along the way, she makes friends with numerous other insects and creatures and learns about nature and the world around her.
To make things even worse for the site, Netflix recently released a parody of documentary series like Making a Murderer and The Jinx called American Vandal. In the series, a vandal spray paints teacher's cars with images of penises. Perhaps Netflix can use this controversy to its advantage and use it to market American Vandal.
Hopefully, the currently lost episode of Maya the Bee will soon be restored, with the offending image removed.