11 of the Most Controversial Magazine Covers of all Time

1596
most controversial magazine covers

Magazine covers are intended to attract readers. Some covers are literally too shocking for various reasons such as when pricking ethnic or group sensibilities.  While there were so countless published materials of this nature, we have selected 11 of the most controversial magazine covers of all time. Find out why they have become such.

Kim Kardashian for Paper Magazine with ‘Break the Internet’ in Nov 2014

Kim Kardashian for Paper Magazine with ‘Break the Internet' in 2014
This one’s pretty tame. Wait till you see the rest of the photos from the collection

Here, she was only basked in oil, revealing her most important asses err… assets, her butt.

Kim Kardashian Paper Magazine
We kinda cropped out the butt crack here

Her nearly nude cover caused tongues wagging in different social media outlets, pointing out that her sultry cover was a poor attempt to gain further fame and relevance.

Kim Kardashian Break the Internet 2014
Caption this! Will the sum of all fears work? 

More of Kim K here!

Kanye West as Jesus Christ on Rolling Stone in Feb 2006

If Kim is on this list, so is her equally controversial husband.

Kanye West Rolling Stone magazine
Passion of Kanye West? Seriously.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift feud
Taylor Swift and Kanye’s feud started during the MTV VMA 2009 when the latter snatched Taylor’s award moment

After releasing the single “Jesus Walks” in 2004 and before stealing the limelight from Taylor Swift in 2009, Kanye appeared on Rolling Stone magazine looking like Jesus Christ in 2006. 

Janet Jackson for Rolling Stone, Sept 1993

Before ‘Nipplegate (see next slide),’ there was this cover in which she appeared topless, only to be covered by a pair of hands while her arms and hand rested on her head.

Janet Jackson Rolling Stone Sept 1993
Same photo was used on her self-titled album but only from the neck and up

The lucky hand belongs to her ex-husband Rene Elizondo Jr.

Nipplegate coined the phrase “Wardrobe Malfunction”

Nipplegate
During Janet’s Super Bowl XXXVIII performance with Justin Timberlake on Feb 2004, Janet’s nipple was accidentally exposed in a supposed scripted stunt with the lines “better have you naked by the end of this song,” from Rock Your Body. 

Is God Dead? Time magazine, 1966

These three words provoked an uproar in religious communities around the world.

Is God Dead? Time magazine, 1966
Cover appeared on April 8, 1966

Newsweek and Christianity Today Answers

Newsweek also featured a similarly themed cover on April 2009 with “The Decline and Fall of Christian America” while Christianity Today attempts to answer the age old question during it’s July 2008 with “God is Not Dead Yet.”

Is God Dead
Newsweek and Christianity Today seemingly reacting to “Is God Dead?”

Demi Moore

Who can forget her pregnancy moment? Everyone who saw that Vanity Fair cover where she stood gloriously naked and proud of her big tummy will definitely remember.

Demi Moore Vanity Fair
August 1991 with her yet to be born daughter at that time, Scout

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Their Rolling Stone magazine cover may possibly be an explicit way of describing The Ballad of John and Yoko.

john lennon yoko ono rolling stone
Rolling Stone, December 1980

Time Out London, The Sex Issue

The controversial cover appeared on Feb 8, 2013.

Time Out London, The Sex Issue
This was the intended cover but was replaced by a blank white front page instead

At first glance, it wasn’t considered risky but wait until you stare at it. You will definitely find something intimate and feminine.  The image above was a wrapped inside cover.

Adolf Hitler as Man of the Year on Time Magazine, 1938

He appeared on Time magazine’s cover in 1938.  Over the years, the magazine is still defending their choice why Hitler was selected for the famed annual recognition.

Adolf Hitler as Man of the Year on Time Magazine, 1938
The Nazi dictator was indeed worthy to grace the cover but due to infamy

Are You Mom Enough?

TIME Magazine Cover: Are You Mom Enough?
This appeared on the magazine’s May 2012 issue

Readers were in their prudish best when they found a 26-year old mom breastfeeding her son in a Time Magazine cover.  The cover was deemed offensive to most feminists.

1965 Life Magazine Anti–Vietnam Cover

The cover showed a Vietcong with his eyes and mouth taped.  Readers found the cover shocking yet a harsh means to introduced them to the realities of the Vietnam War at that time.

1965 Life Magazine Anti–Vietnam Cover
The Vietnam War lasted from November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975

Azealia Banks

All she did was blow a condom on the cover of Dazed and Confused. Several countries found it inappropriate and banned this magazine issue at that time.

Azealia Banks Dazed and Confused magazine
September 2012 issue 

Caitlyn Jenner

The Jenner patriarch did not break the Internet when she finally revealed her transformation from Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner.

vanity fair caitlyn jenner
July 2015 issue of Vanity Fair

The magazine cover was controversial as it made transgender more mainstream and people really talked about it that time.

Did we miss any? Comment below for additional items we can include amongst the most controversial magazine covers of all time!

Suggested Posts