The New Yorker, July 21, 2008
Description: The Obama Couple Satire, This cover by famous New Yorker cartoonist Barry Blitt was heavily criticized by both the McCain and Obama camps during the 2008 US election. While the piece was meant to be a satire of allegations lobbed at the couple by their detractors, its inopportune appearance during a campaign didn’t have Obama’s supporters laughing as hard as the magazine intended though i had a great laugh.
People Magazine, March 2008
Description: Brangelina Twins, This cover and photo shoot sacrificed People’s editorial soul for a first shot at the Brangelina twins. Instead of their usual journalistic even-handed approach, they seemingly acquiesced to the couple’s need for nothing but positive coverage in order to get a scoop on the rest of the world with the first baby pictures. While People magazine denied these charges as “categorically false”, the coverage was nevertheless very rosy-cheeked in tone.
Vanity Fair, August 1993
Description: K.D. Lang and Cindy Crawford, The cover was meant to be as controversial as the country star’s career. According to the cover story, Lang got more grief from the country music industry over her decision to join PETA than her decision to come out as a lesbian.
Rolling Stone, January 22, 1981
Description: John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover. Annie Leibovitz took this shot just hours before John Lennon was shot outside of his apartment building, the Dakota, in New York City on December 8, 1980. Leibovitz originally wanted to take the shot of Lennon alone but he insisted that his wife be in the pictures. This cover was named the most popular magazine cover of the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Publishers.
National Lampoon, January 1973:
Description: If you don’t buy this magazine we will shoot the dog. While this cover didn’t do much more than make people laugh when it came out despite its violent overtones, Ronald G. Harris’ famous cover shot definitely raised a few eyebrows in pre-Photoshop days.
Time Magazine, January 2, 1939: Hitler as Man of the Year
Description: This cover featured an elaborate illustration of Hitler playing “his hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine’s wheel while the Nazi hierarchy looks on.” Baron Rudolph Charles von Ripper was a Catholic that fled Hitler’s Germany, and the artist of this disturbing piece. By 1938, Hitler had firmly seized power in Germany, taken over Austria and Czechoslovakia, and had been given a free hand in Eastern Europe by the English prime minister of the time, Neville Chamberlain. Time has had to defend this choice throughout history.
OK Magazine, June 2009
Description: OK published Michael Jackson’s Death Photo. Michael’s fans were upset over the magazine’s decision to publish this photo. Sarah Ivens, editorial director, said that the cover decision was made since they wanted to stand out from all of the tribute covers that were dominating the stands that week. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 after being given a cocktail of drugs by his physician.
Time, Dec 21, 1998: Devil Horns on Clinton
Description: This was one of several magazine covers that featured Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In 1995, Lewinsky was an intern at the White House during Clinton’s presidency, and they had an intimate affair. The scandal broke when Lewinsky confided in a colleague in January of 1998. The scandal eventually resulted in Clinton’s impeachment. The top of the letter “M” in the Time masthead appear to be resting on the top of Clinton’s head as horns. Though the devil horns were written off by Time as an accident of masthead placement rather than a deliberate act.
Entertainment Weekly, May 2 2003: Dixie Chicks
Description: The Dixie Chicks set off a firestorm when they criticized then-president George W. Bush for invading Iraq on the grounds that Iraq was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. The Dixie Chicks used their weapons of mass distraction on this provocative cover. Many tabloids mentioned, Americans boycotted the Dixie chicks. I don’t think it’s accurate to say “Americans boycotted the Dixie Chicks.” Some Americans boycotted, not the entire nation..
Art Monthly magazine cover
Description: Art monthly, an Australian magazine sparked outrage over naked images of children by publishing an image of a six-year-old Olympia Nelson on its July cover and two shots inside. Justifying the act, The magazine’s editors said the images were chosen as a protest against an uproar over similar pictures by artist Bill Henson. The shot of Olympia was taken in 2003 by her mother, Melbourne photographer Polixeni Papapetrou.
Canadian magazine Maclean’s Oct 2007
Description: The magazine cover was a quite a rage, Maclean’s portrayed Bush as Saddam!
Chi magazine 1997 issue
Description: Italian magazine Chi published a photograph showing Princess Diana receiving medical attention at the scene of her fatal 1997 car crash. It became a huge matter of controversy amongst UK tabloids.
Vanity Fair, August 1991
Description: but i guess it helped to launch Demi Moore’s career into the stratosphere moreover now it’s been done by other pregnant celebrities but then, it was pretty controversial.
The Economist, September 10, 1994: The Camel-Humping Issue
Description: Obvious Black Eyed Peas references aside, this cover drew some fire for the UK-based magazine. The cover was printed for the North American market only.
Esquire, April 1968: The Passion of Ali
Description: This smart rendition of Muhammad Ali was created to illustrate his martyrdom to his cause after he refused to join the US military due to his religious beliefs and was subsequently stripped of his heavyweight boxing title. The piece was done after the same manner as “The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian”, a popular theme through medieval art but most recognizable in the painting by Andrea Mantegna
Time Magazine, April 8, 1966: Is God Dead?
Description: This cover has been called the most controversial of all time. The related article concerned the “death of god movement” that had sprung up in the 1960’s. The cover and article enraged readers.