I still remember when OK! Magazine featured a cover photo of Michael Jackson after he’d died. It was sad and unnecessary, and many people found it both disrespectful to the family and to Michael’s memory. That’s how I feel about this Enquirer cover photo of Whitney Houston’s open casket. This will be featured on the issue that’s about to hit newsstands today, and it makes me wonder: will it have a “family shield” to cover up this image of a dead person? My son is at an age where he can understand death, but when he was younger he had no concept of it and I wouldn’t want to have to explain it to the little guy in a supermarket checkout line. I’d rather my kid see some T&A (and he can see two daddies or mommies any day) than a dead person staring out at him. It’s not the image so much as the questions and sadness it brings up.
Last week The National Enquirer seemed to have stooped to a new low when they published photos inside the magazine that recreated Whitney’s death scene. They even had a photo on the cover that looked like Whitney laying dead face down on the bathroom floor. (Really! Here’s that cover above, thanks to Sammie.) That picture was captioned “Photo Re-Created” below in smallish lettering, but larger font screamed that they had “Exclusive Crime Scene Photos.” Well they didn’t have to use a fake Whitney to recreate the poor lady dead in her casket, since someone at a private open casket viewing scored a payday by snapping a photo and selling it to the tabloids. Here’s more:
Whitney Houston fans expressed shock and outrage Wednesday after the National Enquirer printed an image of the iconic singer in an open casket on its cover.
The morbid photo, purportedly taken inside the family’s private viewing at the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., last Friday, shows Houston’s body lying in her half-opened, polished bronze casket.
It shows the dead pop star wearing what looks like a purple dress along with a brooch pinned to her chest and an earing sparkling in her ear.
The headline claims she was buried wearing $500,000 worth of jewels and gold slippers on her feet.
Facebook and Twitter users lashed out at the tabloid, calling the move trashy and shameful.
“MADD at who ever sold Whitney Houston’s pic of her in a casket,” reality star Evelyn Lozada, from VH1′s “Basketball Wives,” wrote on Twitter.
“Whoever sold the photo of Whitney Houston in her coffin to the National Enquirer is a vile, twisted, evil and unscrupulous sub-human,” London-based fan Christiana Mbakwe tweeted.
Even celebrity blogger Perez Hilton called it a “tasteless, insensitive, morbid thing to do” on his eponymous website.
Of course, the death photo is hardly without precedent. The National Enquirer famously ran a photo of Elvis in his coffin in 1977.
[From The NY Daily News]
In 2007, The Enquirer ran a “photo recreation” of a deceased Anna Nicole Smith in a body bag after her death. We covered that, and some outlets claimed that the photos were really of Anna after her death. At least one paparazzi agency did claim to have photos of Anna’s corpse, which lent credence to the stories that it was really her.
Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment: Whitney looks pretty in that photo in her casket, she appears at peace, and some may say that she lived in the public eye so it’s fitting that this photo be published. That reasoning doesn’t account for all the people and loved ones she left behind, particularly her 18 year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Bobbi is already going through the worst time of her life, how is this going to affect her to have to see her deceased mom on a tabloid cover? That’s just ridiculously mean. My heart has been sinking the whole time I’m writing this, because I’m imagining seeing a loved one in their casket before going through the awful process of attending their burial. We have open casket viewings to provide closure to family and loved ones, the dead person is not meant to be publicly gawked at.
I deliberately didn’t include a link to the photo. It’s all over the place though and if you have even moderate Google skill you can easily find it. Hell, just go to the store on Friday and it will probably be there already.