It’s been called crossing the line. It’s been called shameful and tasteless, and the publisher of the National Enquirer called it a work of art.
National Enquirer publisher Mary Beth Wright told FoxNews.com, “I thought it was beautiful,” speaking of a photo on the magazine’s cover of Whitney Houston lying in a gold casket with the headline, “Whitney: The Last Photo!”
Further story details say that Houston was buried wearing $500,000 in jewelry and gold slippers on her feet. The image was believed to have been taken at Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, but the photo is given no credit.
This kind of photo is not a first for the Enquirer. According to the Washington Post, the paper ran a photo of Elvis Presley in his casket on the cover in 1977, and sold 6.5 million copies.
Houston’s funeral was streamed live by the Associated Press with her family’s permission, and was watched by about two million people. And CNN, who broadcast the funeral, averaged five million viewers during its three and a half hour time frame.
Mail Online reported that over 1,000 people attended the service in Newark on Saturday, among them being Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, and Houston’s “Bodyguard” co-star, Kevin Costner.
According to Digital Journal, the Enquirer was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in the "Investigative Reporting" and "National News Reporting" categories in 2009 for being the first to report the John Edwards scandal, the first time a tabloid has ever been selected for Pulitzer consideration.
Outrage toward the newspaper was being expressed all over Twitter. In another point of view, Dan Gross of Philly Gossip tweeted, “Don't hate the National Enquirer for publishing Whitney Houston casket photo, hate on the family member/friend who sold it.”