Controversial magazine covers

Updated 10:24 AM ET, Tue August 29, 2017
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The September 2017 cover of Interview magazine featuring Kim Kardashian West and her daughter North stirred controversy. Some were offended by the reality star channeling Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Kardashian West's darker than usual complexion. Interview/Twitter
Wired magazine has published a cover photo of NSA leaker Edward Snowden holding the American flag in both of his hands, as if protecting it from the government. Click through the gallery to look at some other controversial magazine covers through the years: courtesy Wired
The final season of "True Blood" premiered in June, and what better way to raise awareness than with a sexy magazine cover? Of course, it wasn't the first time the "True Blood" stars had stripped down. courtesy Entertainment Weekly
From left, "True Blood" stars Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer appear naked on the September 2010 cover of Rolling Stone. Alan Ball, the creator of the hit HBO series, told the magazine: "To me, vampires are sex. I don't get a vampire story about abstinence." Fans were likely not taken aback by the nude threesome, but the cover had some people calling for it to be pulled from shelves. Courtesy Rolling Stone
Neil Patrick Harris decided to share his eight-pack with the world. The actor slimmed down for his role in the Broadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," and he displayed his hard work on the cover of Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone
Paulina Gretzky's cover for the May issue of Golf Digest stirred controversy and left some LPGA pros feeling overlooked. The magazine explained that as the fiancee of PGA Tour pro Dustin Johnson, Gretzky is a major celebrity in the golf world and thereby qualifies the recognition of a cover story. FROM Golf Digest
Bloomberg Businessweek's November 4 issue addressed the technical problems that riddled the website. from bloomberg businessweek
With hair covering a portion of her face, and a loose-fitting coat that reveals little skin, some critics said that Elle magazine's November cover of actress Melissa McCarthy was fat-shaming. In response, Elle posted a follow-up item on its website that read in part, "On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different: Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover." From ELLE Magazine
New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner found himself in hot water once again after admitting he had online relationships with three women after his 2011 resignation from Congress. The New Yorker magazine's cover in August 2013 depicted Weiner as King Kong, taking a photo with a cell phone atop the Empire State Building. from the new yorker
Rolling Stone magazine made headlines because of the photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its July 19, 2013, issue. Three people died and more than 170 were injured in the explosions. The photograph originally was posted by Tsarnaev online and had previously circulated around the Internet. Public backlash was almost immediate. Rolling Stone defended itself, saying the cover story reflected its commitment to "serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day." from rolling stone
Time magazine's April 8, 2013, double cover drew controversy as the U.S. Supreme Court took up two cases centered on same-sex marriage laws. from TIME
Time magazine's May 21, 2012, cover caused a stir because of the female subject's mostly exposed breast and the age of her son. from Time Magazine
Newsweek in May 2012 declared Barack Obama the "first gay president." The cover reflected the president's public support of same-sex marriage and came during his reelection campaign. Some media pundits and historians argued that James Buchanan was likely the first gay president. From Newsweek
A Bloomberg Businessweek cover in February 2012 addressed the merger between United and Continental airlines with one plane on top of the other and the headline "Let's Get It On." It was recognized by the American Society of Magazine Editors as the year's best cover among business and technology magazines. From Bloomberg Businessweek
The September 14, 2009, cover of Newsweek asked, "Is your baby racist?" Researchers at the University of Texas found that children as young as 6 months judge people based on the color of their skin. Among the story's critics were conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who said: "Apparently being born white automatically makes you a racist -- which, to me, is just another example of what obsessive racists the leftists actually are." From Newsweek
The New Yorker's July 21, 2008, cover drew mostly outrage for its depiction of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama dressed like Osama bin Laden and Michelle Obama with an exaggerated Afro dressed in combat gear. The Obama campaign blasted the cover as "tasteless and insensitive," while the magazine said the cartoon was intended to satirize the "lies and misconceptions and distortions about the Obamas and their background and their politics" that were circulating four months before the election. from the new yorker
New York magazine featured Eliot Spitzer on its cover in March 2008, a month after he resigned as governor, with the word "brain" pointing to his crotch. Spitzer was stopped in his political tracks when his liaisons with high-paid escort Ashley Dupre surfaced, leading to his resignation. The magazine devoted three articles to dissecting his downfall. From New York Magazine
The American Conservative portrayed Rudy Giuliani dressed in a uniform reminiscent of those worn by Hitler's SS on January 14, 2008, during the then-New York mayor's bid for the presidency. In a cover story, Glenn Greenwald wrote that Giuliani would be "an authoritarian president with the ultimate fantasy: the ability to wield more power than any other human being in the world, with the fewest real limits in modern American history." The cover was slammed by both conservative and liberal commentators. From The American Conservative
In January 2007, Texas Monthly referenced an old issue of National Lampoon when they put an armed Dick Cheney on the cover with the headline: "If you don't buy this magazine, Dick Cheney will shoot you in the face." The then-vice president accidentally shot and wounded his friend while quail hunting in South Texas the previous year. The liberal news magazine was giving him its satirical "Bum Steer of the Year" award. From Texas Monthly
Some television networks pulled Ellen DeGeneres' show after Time released its April 17, 1997, cover revealing her sexual orientation. from TIME
The Economist's September 10, 1994, North American cover, which dealt with a surge in corporate mergers, raised eyebrows. "Camels do it, birds and bees do it, even companies do it: all over America, firms are falling in love and settling down together," Deputy Editor Emma Duncan wrote in an article about Economist covers that made news in and of themselves. from the economist
Time's June 27, 1994, cover featuring O.J. Simpson's mugshot was widely criticized because the image had been darkened compared with other magazine covers that had used the same image. The cover was viewed as racist because it portrayed Simpson as a darker-skinned man and gave him a more menacing demeanor. Time's managing editor at the time, James R. Gaines, released a statement saying that neither racial implications nor imputation of guilt were intended. from TIME Magazine
Janet Jackson was featured on the September 1993 cover of Rolling Stone with a pair of hands covering her breasts. The photograph came from a session Patrick Demarchelier shot while producing artwork for the cover of the sexually charged "Janet" album. "We had a choice of shooting her ourselves," Laurie Kratochvil, Rolling Stone's director of photography, told the Los Angeles Times. "But they offered us this and the image is very powerful." The provocative image shocked the world and established Jackson's status as a sex symbol. Courtesy Rolling Stone
In 1987, Newsweek caused a stir when it ran a cover of Vice President George H.W. Bush titled "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor." It was a year before the election that would promote Bush to the presidency, at a time when the country was debating his qualifications. The magazine reprised the "Wimp Factor" phrase in 2012, this time referring to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. From Newsweek
A woman in a meat grinder was on the cover of Hustler in June 1978 alongside a quote from publisher Larry Flynt: "We will no longer hang women up like pieces of meat." It was his response to feminists' claim that women in pornography are treated like pieces of meat, and the gory cover led to more nationwide protests against the magazine. From Hustler Magazine
In January 1973, the cover of humor magazine National Lampoon featured a dog with a revolver pointed at its head and the famous caption, "If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog." From National Lampoon
In October 1971, American model Darine Stern made history by becoming the first black woman to appear by herself on the cover of Playboy. It was considered controversial at a time when black women rarely graced the covers of major magazines. The iconic image went on to inspire Playboy's November 2009 cover that featured Marge Simpson as the magazine's first cartoon cover model. From Playboy
Time magazine's April 8, 1966, cover, and a related article discussing the "death of God movement," drew immediate backlash. from Time Magazine
The media played a large role in the American public's perception of the Vietnam War, and Life magazine's November 26, 1965, cover stirred the pot more by showing the "blunt reality of war." from LIFE
Time declared Adolf Hitler its Man of the Year in the January 2, 1939, issue, just eight months before Germany's invasion of Poland triggered World War II. The issues for Time's Man of the Year, now known as Person of the Year, sometimes run into controversy, but the magazine has shown that its choice often is anything but an endorsement. In the case of Hitler, Time wrote that, among many other things, Hitler had "torn the Treaty of Versailles to shreds," and described the events leading up to the annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938 as "ruthless" and "methodical." from Time Magazine