There was controversy surrounding the cover of the VHS release of The Little Mermaid, as some believed a phallic symbol was purposely included in the artwork. However, the truth is that the image was an accidental oversight by the artist, and not a deliberate or controversial act.
It's a story that has been whispered about for decades: was a phallus deliberately added to the artwork on the cover of the VHS release of The Little Mermaid? Some believe that a disgruntled artist, angry at being let go by Disney, snuck the offensive image into the background of the iconic Disney film as a final act of defiance. But the truth is much less scandalous.
The Little Mermaid Cover Controversy: Here's the Real Truth!
The artist responsible for the video cover art was not an employee of Disney, and had no beef with the company. In fact, they had drawn artwork for various Little Mermaid products, including theatrical advertising, pop-ups, greeting cards, Happy Meal boxes, and CDs. The video cover art was created a few months before the home video release, and the artist was rushed to finish it. In their hurry, they accidentally drew one of the castle spires in the background to resemble a phallus. The artist didn't even realize the mistake until someone from their youth church group called and tipped them off to the controversy.
Contrary to popular belief, the phallic spire didn't make its debut on the video cover art. It had actually appeared in promotional materials and posters for the film's original theatrical release. The video cover did differ slightly from the original version, but the castle in the background was the same. When the laserdisc release of the film was issued, the cover featured an altered version of the spire to remove the offending image.
The so-called "phallic symbol" in The Little Mermaid artwork went largely unnoticed by the public for about a year while the film was in theaters. It wasn't until Entertainment Weekly ran a story about the controversy in the mid-1990s that the rumor gained traction. A woman named Machelle Couch in Mesa, Arizona complained to Disney and a local supermarket chain about the phallus on the cover of The Little Mermaid, and the chain temporarily pulled the videos from their shelves. The story of the "p*nis cover" quickly gained widespread media attention.
Ultimately, the tale of the phallic spire on The Little Mermaid VHS cover is nothing more than an urban legend. While it's true that the image bears a resemblance to a p*nis, it was simply an accidental oversight by the artist, and not a deliberate act of defiance or disrespect.