Fact Check: 'A113' Snuck Into Animated Films Is NOT A Pedophile Code, It's A Harmless 'Easter Egg'

Fact Check

  • by: Dean Miller
Fact Check: 'A113' Snuck Into Animated Films Is NOT A Pedophile Code, It's A Harmless 'Easter Egg' Egg on Face

Do animators sneak "A113" into the background of animated Disney/Pixar films as a symbol of adrenochrome, to "groom pedophilia"? No, that's not true: Animators who studied at the California Institute of the Arts draw "A113" onto license plates and other background items as an homage to their animation classroom: Room A113. There is no chemical notation in which A113 refers to adrenochrome.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post August 3, 2020 (archived here) under the title "A113 symbolizes Adrenochrome." It opened:

...it's often subliminally displayed in cartoons. Not a coincidence "Woody" from "Toy Story", Tom Hanks's character is the one next to the A113 license plate

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Aug 4 23:25:18 2020 UTC)

Margaret Crane, California Institute of Arts (CAlArts) media relations manager, said the "A113" tradition is enjoyed at the Valencia, California, campus.

A113 is a classroom at CalArts. Many prominent animators over the years studied in that room. When they started making their own films, some of the them inserted the numbers A113 as an easter egg and that's become a custom.

Lead Stories reached out to the media relations office of Pixar Animation Studios, in whose films "A113" most often appears, and will update this report as warranted when Pixar responds. Pixar is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Pixar has produced a short You Tube video showing several animators in front of Room A113 followed by a montage of the ways animators have worked A113 into animated films:

In video games and other electronic arts, a camouflaged item like "A113" is what's called an "Easter Egg."

Mark J.P. Wolf's 2012 "Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming" reports the term arose in the late 1970s when Steve Wright, then-director of software development in the Atari Consumer Division, turned a minor hack into a positive. The programmer of the Atari video game "Adventure" wrote his name onto a tiny segment of the game so that users might stumble on it. Wright celebrated it, saying gamers would enjoy a kind of Easter-egg hunt for it. In 2017, Forbes also wrote about the origin of the Easter egg in video gaming.

Now, video games often include hard-to-spot items that personalize the game, honor designers' heroes or even give players interesting side journeys.

Animators sneaking such items into their work are following the footsteps of the late Al Hirschfeld, whose seven-decade career as a caricaturist is perhaps best known for his New York Times cartoons of entertainers. He penned a number after his name, telling readers how many times he had worked the name of his daughter -- Nina -- into each drawing.

Lead Stories, which has previously debunked the link between child abusers, hallucinogen-seekers and adrenochrome, asked multiple scientific organizations if there is a link between "A113" and adrenochrome and found none. The molecule, an oxidized version of the adrenaline made by the adrenal gland, naturally occurs in the body. In chemistry and physiology, A113 does not stand for adrenochrome, said a user services staffer at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an online chemistry resource operated by the National Institutes of Health.

"...we have 4 records that represent Adrenochrome and Adrenochrome mixtures (Adrenochrome with other compounds) and many other records that represent analogs or chemically-modified forms of this chemical. None appear to have had the term A113 provided as a synonym from any of our sources.

In chemical manuals and catalogs, adrenochrome is denoted as follows: "C9H9NO3" or "3-hydroxy-1-methyl-2,3-dihydroindole-5,6-dione".

The Facebook post about A113 also claims that the appearance of A113 on the license plate of the minivan the cowboy character "Woody" climbs into in "Toy Story" is a secret pedophile signal:

Tom Hanks's character is the one next to the A113 license plate. Tom Hanks is on Jeffrey Epstein's flight log listed below. So WTF is this in #disney movies, tv etc? Disney is grooming pedophilia. Parents it's up to you to eradicate this evil from your children's lives. Everything gives off something

Lead Stories has previously debunked claims that the actor Tom Hanks is involved in pedophilia:

Fact Check: Tom Hanks, Others NOT Arrested For Pedophilia Or Other Crimes In QAnon Conspiracy

Tom Hanks is not named in the flight logs of Epstein's private planes, which have been made public in the files of the sex trafficking case against Epstein. They are available here.

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  Dean Miller

Lead Stories staff writer Dean Miller has edited daily and weekly newspapers, worked as a reporter for more than a decade and is co-author of two non-fiction books. After a one-year Harvard Nieman Fellowship, he served as Director of Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy for six years. As Senior Vice President/Content at Connecticut Public Broadcasting, a dual licensee, he oversaw radio, TV and print journalists, and documentary producers. He moved west to teach journalism at Western Washington University, edit The Port Townsend Leader and write the twice-weekly Save The Free Press column for the Seattle Times. Miller won the 2007 national Mirror Award for news industry coverage and he led the team that won the 2005 Scripps Howard first amendment prize. 

Read more about or contact Dean Miller

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