Almost Topless Kate Upton Covers Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and Other Controversial Magazine Covers

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Almost Topless Kate Upton Covers Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and Other Controversial Magazine Covers
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Kate Upton

Although she scored back-to-back years as cover model for Sports Illustrated's famous swimsuit issue, the bigger news about Kate Upton's 2013 cover may be the photo itself. Unlike her 2012 cover, which depicted the supermodel in a cliché skimpy bikini, the foxy Floridian wore no bathing suit top this year-although part of her breasts were strategically covered by a fur-lined parka.

Shot in Antarctica, the "Kate Upton Goes Polar Bare" photo seems like an obvious ploy for the sports magazine to sell more copies of its most popular issue, using a sexy Playboyesque photo to spark free media chatter. The shock tactic will likely work since the public has become jaded to scantily clad women peeking out from the front of supermarket magazine racks.

Of course, Sports Illustrated is not the only magazine to push the envelope on good taste with its magazine covers. Over the years, popular periodicals from Vanity Fair to Newsweek have published daring covers that demand a second look.

Deceased Princess Diana Depicted on Newsweek Cover

Before its demise as a print magazine, Newsweek took one of its last gasps for survival by putting a photo of Prince William and Harry's mum on its cover, despite the fact she had been dead for 15 years. The manufactured graphic was created with photo editing software to show what the iconic princess might look like if she had lived to age 50. Media pundits who debated the controversial cover either delighted in its cleverness or expressed disgust. In an Atlantic Wire blog post, Adam Clark Estes spoke for many readers when he asked, "How creepy is Princess Diana's ghost on the cover of Newsweek?"

Demi Moore Displayed Seven-Month Pregnant Torso

Though scantily clad naked celebs on magazine covers have become as common as Junior Mints at the movies, when Demi Moore revealed her naked mommy-to-be tummy on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991 she was the first big star to do so. Though one blogger noted "the 'decency police' went berserk denouncing the cover as obscene and generally gross," she astutely added, "the Demi Moore cover is one of Vanity Fair's best-remembered and most imitated ad nauseam by celebrity women with a bun in the oven." Long after the concept had lost its shock value, Jessica Simpson, Cindy Crawford and Britney Spears were among the copycat celebs who displayed their nude pregnant bodies on magazine covers in later years.

Cartoon Obamas Shown Fist Bumping on New Yorker Cover

Though clearly intended as satire, the New Yorker magazine took a lot of heat for depicting Barack and Michelle Obama as fist bumping radical Muslims on its cover in 2008 during the POTUS's first run for president. The inappropriateness of the image was about the only thing the Obama and McCain campaigns agreed upon that year, but the New Yorker defended its cover as "hold(ing) up a mirror to the absurd." Of course, the jaw-dropping picture may have also resulted in more sales of the magazine. As media critic James Joyner remarked, "It's provocative, sure, but how better to generate buzz and sell extra copies at the newsstand?"

More from this contributor:

Kate Upton Annoys Catholics with Nun Bikini and Other Celebs Who Irked the Church

Cool or Creepy: 50-year-old Princess Diana on 'Newsweek' Cover

Demi Moore Divorce: Was Mrs. Kutcher a Deluded Cougar?

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