15 of the Most Controversial Magazine Covers

Posted by PZ on November 19th, 2010




Janet Jackson’s provocative Rolling Stone cover


When a magazine cover is so shocking it begins to make its own headlines –  that’s when it ends up here – as one of the most controversial magazine covers ever. Here is a look at 15 covers which were deemed outrageous at the time of publishing: from Demi Moore’s famous flaunting of her baby bump, to Kanye West dressed up in a crown of thorns for Rolling Stone.

Obama supporters weren’t too happy with this cover, released during the 2008 US election

Plus-sized singer Beth Ditto shocked by stripping off for NME

National Lampoon’s famous dog cover: this was before Photoshop was in use!

Kanye West’s strange portrait of Jesus had religious fans of the magazine complaining

This cover shot had Michael Jackson fans outraged, showing the singer as fragile just before his tragic death

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s arm was badly Photoshopped by Seventeen using a stock image: they sent her a leather purse to say sorry, to which she responded ‘ I don’t wear leather’

This cover of Vogue was seen as a racist portrayal of “King Kong” but was meant as a celebration of fitness

This portrait of Muhammad Ali was created after he refused to join the US military due to his religious beliefs

This bold cover was used for a special edition of Time, which featured testimonies from 911 survivors, and a salute to those who died

Demi Moore‘s naked pregnancy photo was the first of it’s kind

This photo of John Lennon was captured by photographer Annie Leibovitz hours before he was killed

This cover has been named the most controversial ever: it’s easy to see why..

This cover saw a pair of woman’s legs being violently minced: the graphic image made the message behind this clear

Not everyone found this cover image of Camels getting hot’n’heavy hilarious

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Category: Beth Ditto, Demi Moore, Gisele Bundchen, kanye west, Lists, Michael Jackson