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19 Responses

  1. Al at |

    Demi Moore pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991 wasn't on your list but was the first thing that came to my mind. Now it's been done by other pregnant celebrities but then, it was pretty controversial.

  2. Topher at |

    That’s a bunch of great covers there Top Tenz Master! This list could easily be 100 or more. Controversial covers tend to sell more issues.

    Some other great controversial covers:

    Canadian magazine Maclean’s Oct 2007 – Bush as Saddam

    The Economist Sept 1994 – two camels mating

    Vogue May 2008 – Alien Gwyneth’s super-bad photoshop job

    Time April 2008 – Debunks corn biofuel myths

    National Lampoon Jan 1973 – Buy this or we shoot a dog

  3. michael at |

    Great list, but you can't have an article about controversial covers without some controversy, I guess, so here goes. I don't think it's accurate to say "Americans boycotted the Dixie Chicks." Some Americans boycotted, not the entire nation.

  4. Leslie at |

    I was surprised not to see the August 1992 Vanity Fair cover of a naked Demi Moore painted to look as if she was wearing a man's suit. The trompe l'oeuil effect was amazing and the cover was quite controversial when it came out. You can see a small photo of it at

  5. Kelli at |

    I was surprised not to see the Feb 2006 Rolling Stones cover of Kanye West depicted as Jesus. I just remember even before it came it out, it was already in the news. Other than that I thought it was a great collection.

  6. sandrar at |

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  7. Nicholas Lim at |

    lol number 5 king kong

  8. Neil at |

    So you have a list of 10 covers that caused controversy and then blur out ONE of the covers because it's controversial. Yeh, that makes sense… Oh, hang on, no it doesn't.

  9. biggfredd at |

    How about the crucified Easter Bunny on the cover of Hustler?

  10. gksa at |

    @Neil: Well, since the Art Monthly cover could be considered illegal in many countries (depending on the interpretation of child pornography legislation) there is a bit of a difference between this one and the others…

  11. Susan at |

    What about the photo of OJ Simpson on the cover of Time (I think) that was photoshopped to look darker..

  12. Dennis at |

    I’m reminded of when TV guide magazine tried to get away with photoshopping Oprah winfrey’s head onto Ann-Margaret’s body on one of their covers a few years ago.

  13. Eyeless Dog Pawless Dog Loveless Dog at |

    Where can I get the Art Monthly one? it’s so gorgeous!

  14. Terry Duber at |

    The most controversial magazine cover of all time has to be the November, 1970, issue of Esquire featuring a closeup of a smiling Lt. William Calley surrounded by very young Vietnamese children. That image has haunted me for more than 40 years.

  15. Vermilion at |

    I truly find it sad that people consider a picture of a woman breastfeeding a child “offensive and disgusting”. It’s a natural part of life and a beautiful bonding experience for a mother and child. There is nothing offensive or disgusting about loving and nurturing a child.

  16. Common Sense at |

    I’m pretty sure that blurring out the photo of the child is in everyone’s best interests. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it actually would be illegal NOT to blur it out?

  17. Tim at |

    Apple was most definitely NOT the biggest brand in the world in 1997.


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