Controversial magazine covers
When celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz shot Demi Moore nude—and seven months' pregnant—for Vanity Fair in 1991, the controversial cover drew both praise and outrage for the magazine and the actress.
Set me free
Vogue Hommes International’s cover shot in the fall/winter 2012 issue shows Marlon Teixeira reaching around Stephanie Seymour from behind, one hand cupping her left breast and the other at her throat. Passion? Maybe. But the shot looked too much like violence against women to the advocacy groups that petitioned publisher Condé Nast to remove it from newsstands.
There's blood, and then there's, well, "True Blood." The September 2010 issue of Rolling Stone pictured "True Blood" stars Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer naked covered in blood. Blood and sex may be staples of the hit HBO vampire-themed series, but this magazine cover was a little too much for some readers.
The spring/summer AnOther cover showing Michelle Williams as a feather-wearing Indian with long black braids was one of a series picturing the actress as eight characters. Some Native Americans objected to the photo, particularly Jezebel writer Ruth Hopkins, who demanded that the publisher apologize and pull the magazines.
Proud to be an American
Two months after Natalie Maines' controversial remark about President George W. Bush made her and her two band mates targets of public outrage, canceled bookings and plummeting sales, the Dixie Chicks pushed back with this in-your-face Entertainment Weekly cover, which shows the trio with slogans about patriotism, free speech and personal liberty decorating their naked bodies.
Beauty and the beast
Vogue was proud to announce that NBA star LeBron James was the first black man ever to appear on the magazine's cover in April 2008, so the publisher wasn't prepared for the backlash from critics who thought James' pose with model Gisele Bundchen was "racially insensitive," evoked images of the original "King Kong" movie and made James look like "a dangerous black man."
Kate Moss caused quite a stir when she dressed up like the Virgin Mary, the "Good" and the "Bad," for the split cover of W magazine's March 2012 issue. If the covers weren't enough, a series of photos inside showed Moss/Mary in provocative poses, including one in which she is wearing a white dress and holding a black filigree cross between her widespread legs.
Three strategically placed taglines saved the day in the cover shot when Kim Kardashian bared all for W magazine in the November 2010 issue. The world already had seen a lot of Ms. Kardashian long before this, but her nearly naked cover still drew criticism.
Bare mom redux
More than 20 years after Demi Moore celebrated her pregnancy with a nude cover shot in Vanity Fair, Jessica Simpson struck the same pose on the cover of Elle. Surprisingly, the intervening two decades had not completely dampened the controversy; at least one Arizona supermarket censored the shot by covering it with cardboard or turning it face (and body) down on the newsstand.