Censored Magazine Covers

Bookstores are censoring the new issue of Dossier, which features a topless photo of an androgynous male model. From Lady Gaga's side boob to Jennifer Aniston's naked peek-a-boo, see more censored issues.


Two major bookstore chains required the new issue of Dossier magazine to be poly-bagged because it featured a topless model on the cover, according to Elle.com. The irony? The model is male. But apparently the image of 19-year-old Andrej Pejic in curlers was too provocative for the stores. "It's a naked man on the cover of a magazine, which is done all of the time without being covered up, so I definitely don't think it merits this, but I understand what it is," Dossier co-founder Skye Parrott told The Huffington Post. "It seems that it probably made people uncomfortable. But that's part of what's interesting about the cover, I think, is that it's playing with those ideas of gender roles."

Us Weekly

In January 2011, a Harps supermarket in Mountain View, Arkansas, placed a "family shield" —typically used to block nudity on adult magazines—over the cover of an Us Weekly that featured Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, with their new son, Zachary. When an outraged shopper tweeted a photo of the display, Harps reversed its decision, had the shield removed, and company CEO Kim Eskew issued a statement explaining the decision. "In this case our store manager received some complaints and, as has been our custom, placed the shield over the cover of the magazine," Eskew said. "Our true intention is not to offend anyone in our stores and this incident happened at just one of our 65 locations, which, when brought to our attention, we reversed."


Some people just don't want to see their Friends naked. In December 2008, the Hudson News newsstand in New York's Grand Central Terminal covered up the January 2009 issue of GQ featuring Jennifer Aniston wearing nothing but a necktie. While the incident appeared to be isolated, six months later, another issue of GQ was shielded by a Hudson News operator in Chicago. This time, the cover featured a nude Sacha Baron Cohen as his fashionisto alter ego Brüno.

Vanity Fair

Named one of the best magazine covers of the last half-century Vanity Fair's August 1991 issue featured a naked and pregnant Demi Moore photographed by Annie Leibovitz. The image, which has since been duplicated and parodied was banned (or covered up) on many newsstands and set off national debates on motherhood, feminism, and beauty. Twenty years later, Moore's image is still controversial— Facebook recently pulled a profile portrait of a naked and pregnant British woman who wanted to pose like the actress.


Lady Gaga may have been born that way, but some newsstand operators didn't want to see it. Q magazine's March 2010 issue was pulled from Borders bookstores and other newsstands for displaying too much of the singer's left breast. Adding to the controversy was the fact that she was grabbing her crotch. Ironically, what all of the censors failed to notice was that Gaga had seemingly stuffed her tight black pants with a dildo.


Crossing a religious line is one sure way to get a magazine censored. In November 2008, the Moroccan government banned the French magazine L'Express from newsstands for insulting Islam. The magazine's headline read, "The Shock: Christ-Mohamed, their career, their message, their vision of the world" and featured portraits of Jesus and Islam's prophet, but L'Express obscured Muhammad's face with a veil out of respect for Islamic law. (Muhammad's face is left uncovered on the French edition.) Moroccan Information Minister Khalid Naciri told the Associated Press that he would not hesitate to censor a magazine "every time the media offends religion."


Less than a year into its existence, Fangoria—the magazine for fans of horror and slasher films—was pulled from newsstands for featuring a disturbing image of the chainsaw-wielding Pig Man from Motel Hell. Because of the controversy, Fangoria #9 became a collector's item, though you can still find it on eBay now and then.


What was intended to be an homage to the greatest magazine cover of the last 50 years, Annie Leibovitz's Rolling Stone portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, turned out to be too steamy for British newsstand chain WH Smith. The April 2008 issue of Diva, Europe's leading lesbian magazine, was pulled from newsstands because too much of a female model's left breast was showing in the re-enactment of the Lennon pose. Rather than risk the sales loss, Diva redesigned the cover of its "Super Sexy Issue" by placing type over the offending side boob.


Who knew the Gestapo was so thin-skinned? In May 1939, Heinrich Himmler, head of Nazi Germany's secret police, ordered Time magazine to be pulled from the country's newsstands after he was featured on its cover. Though the magazine pointed out that "newsstand circulation of the magazine amounted to about 75 copies" in Germany, it also noted that Time had been banned in England, Italy, and France as World War II tensions heated up in Europe. The censorship didn't stop the newsweekly from covering the war, and six years later, Time published its famous cover of Adolf Hitler that was reprised when Osama bin Laden was killed.