June 29th, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Diana and Kate Newsweek cover blasted as 'ghoulish' and in 'bad taste'

Newsweek and its new editor Tina Brown aren't just reporting the news, they've become the story this week after publishing a computer-generated cover photo showing Princess Diana and Kate Middleton side by side.

The women are dressed similarly, wearing hats, their heads facing toward each other as if they are walking together. The cover accompanies a fictional piece Brown authored which imagines how Di's life might have turned out had she not died in a 1997 car crash in Paris. Another couple of photos inside in the magazine are eye-catching. They are of Diana and the daughter-in-law she never knew wearing similar red dresses.

The issue is pegged to what would have been Diana's 50th birthday on Friday.

Here's a sampling of Brown's take on Diana in 2011: "Gliding sleekly into her 40s, her romantic taste would have moved to men of power over boys of play."

Diana would have had a Facebook page with millions of followers and named "Bridget Jones' Diary" as one of her favorite movies. She would have lived in a New York City loft and been married at least twice to men on both sides of the Atlantic. She would have enjoyed front-row seating next to Victoria Beckham during New York's Fashion Week, owned an iPhone and  been totally devoted to philanthropic causes when not doting on sons Harry and William.

Many have found the digital manipulation of Diana and Brown's imagining of the princess' future revolting.

The London Telegraph called the cover photo "ghoulish" and dubbed Brown "Newsweek's grave robber."  The newspaper supposes Newsweek's motivation was to sell magazines. E! Online wrote a story titled "Bad taste alert!"  Jezebel, which reports on issues related to women, penned a reaction under the headline "Undead Princess Strolls with Kate Middletown on Ridiculous Newsweek Cover."  Mediaite's Lizzie Manning said she didn't take issue with Brown's creative prose. It was the photos that creeped Manning out , more than Brown's writing. Popular blog Cafemom criticized Brown in an open letter to her, addressing Brown as Bonnie Fuller, the American magazine editor famous for print tabloid entertainment.

"You took a woman who has been dead for 14 years and made up an entire story about what she would look like, where she would be living (the Big Apple of course!), what she would be doing (apparently lots of Botox!), and perhaps most importantly, what she would be wearing (Galliano - the anti-Semite - and J.Crew a la Michelle Obama!) ... if she were still alive today," Cafemom wrote. "This is pure brilliance. I've never understood why a magazine called Newsweek would waste its time having reporters write about current events or world affairs when it could simply make up stuff."

The British Brown, new to the helm at the news magazine, formerly edited the New Yorker and founded the Daily Beast. She is well-known for her observations about British politics and culture, as well as American culture.

Wednesday morning, Brown explained why she wrote the story the way she did.

"I wanted to make her a time traveler," she said, adding that she viewed Diana as a "global, mover shaker kind of woman."

"She loved the limelight but she would have professionalized all that humanitarian giving," Brown said. "She would have been very much a woman of our time."

The Newsweek package isn't without straight reporting. The magazine highlights causes Diana championed by tracking how much good they've done after her death.

And the magazine isn't the only media outlet pondering what Diana would have been like at 50. The U.K.'s Daily Express newspaper also published a digitally aged image of Diana's face. It also is not the first magazine to attempt a fictionalized story about a famous and beloved life cut short. In April 2008, Esquire magazine imagined, in narrative form, what actor Heath Ledger's last few days alive might have been like. Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose that year. The magazine's editor at the time insisted the piece was neither stunt nor gimmick.

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Facebook • Media • New York • Prince William • Twitter • United Kingdom
soundoff (653 Responses)
  1. elle

    a stupid idea and just sensationalism. DO we have mocked up photos of Elvis hanging out with his grandkids? Dead people can't be recreated as they MIGHT have been. Only as they were

    June 30, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Justin

    Makes me sick. Who is responsible for this?

    June 30, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. jesse

    Have to agree with one part of the article. I'm ok with the storie, but the pics make her look like the walking dead. I highly doubt that a woman of privilage and power such as she would not have had access to products and doctors that could have kept her looking wonderful for longer than even now.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. MrId

    Man I hope they covered Diana's lunch with Churchill, tennis with Einstein, and skiing with Ghandi!

    June 30, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rardo

    Idiots....we all know Diana & Tupac are New Zeland.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      ROTFLMAO! Along with Elivs and Liberace?

      June 30, 2011 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Churchill

    Who cares? Besides, the UK is tabloid central. Even their respected journals are sensationalizing. The UK tabloids are just sorry they didn't think of it first. As far as the USA is concerned, she wasn't our princess... she could be the Queen of Sheba for all we care. Move on!

    June 30, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pay_the_troll_toll

    This is not as bad as that horrible diet coke commercial with that crack head Paula Abdul dancing with Cary Grant, Groucho Marx &Gene Kelly.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. okerry

    There is no way in ten billion years that Diana would have been friends with Camilla Homewrecker Bowles on Facebook or anywhere else. Please.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. MikeyNYC

    I used to subscribe to Newsweek magazine, but that was when its focus was NEWS, not yet another 50 page pamphlet on the dealings of the rich and famous. I certainly have no problem with Diana, but I do have a problem with the complete and utter morons who would have a hissy fit about a picture and a fictional story. Diana is dead, she isn't going to mind about a picture! With all of the truly terrible things that are happening today in our world, that people would care about a silly picture simply shows how shallow and pathetic our society has become.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Margot707

      Maybe Diana isn't here to object, but her sons are. Maybe there's some justification to a "what if" story. However, putting a doctored photo like this on the cover is definitely in bad taste.

      June 30, 2011 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Gale

    Doing a computer generated photos of those who are no longer with us is not exactly a tribute. The fact that Diana lost her life so prematurely because the media didn't know when to back off, and not they won't back off in her death, that is what makes this extra tacky. Let the poor woman rest in peace. Give the mother of the future King Of England a touch of respect. And while you are at it, lay off from hounding William's new bride. We don't want to lose her to some horrid accident caused by the press.

    Stop hounding people in general. I for one am tired of seeing even my favorite stars while they are running for their lives away from the chasing madmen with cameras. I so much prefer to see the lovely photos of my favorite people when they are all dressed up for hollywood events.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Patricia

    Enough already! Prince William did not marry his mother, Poor boy to have lost his mother at such a tender age, may she rest in peace. But he is a grown man with a wife who is trying to make her own way. Enough Enough Enough already! Will we ever get any news on Kate without her dead mother-in-law's shadow looming every where? All this talk of Diana and Kate are becoming downright disrespectful of the prince's wife and Diana's memory.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • unowhoitsme

      Well said.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gale

    Doing a computer generated photo of those who are no longer with us is not exactly a tribute. Diana lost her life so prematurely because the media didn't know when to back off. Now the media won't back off while she is dead and that is what makes this extra tacky. Let the poor woman rest in peace. Give the mother of the future King Of England a touch of respect. While you are at it, lay off from hounding William's new bride. We don't want to lose her to some horrid accident caused by the press.

    Newsweek should attempt to use a bit of class when they are producing news and comentary about the leaders of other countries and their families. They are making the USA look like a giant trailer park. When did they stop being a valued news informant and start being a rag?

    Stop hounding people in general. I for one am tired of seeing my favorite stars while they are running for their lives away from the chasing madmen with cameras. I so much prefer to see the lovely photos of my favorite people when they are all dressed up for Hollywood events.

    Hey NEWSWEEK!, Show us the pictures that proves your camera men were INVITED instead of buying the pictures from freelance photographers that make daily life miserable for some. Why are you buying pictures off of a bunch of crack heads anyway? Where is your professionalism?

    We all need to send an email to NEWSWEEK,
    They have two email addresses. Letters@newsweekdailybeast.com and Letters@newsweek.com

    June 30, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Vinny001

    Instead of Newsweek, try SciFi magazine.

    June 30, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. JT

    Totally amateurish Photoshop job, too.

    June 30, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chiqui

    I like it but I wish they didn't make Diana's face too old. I think she would have been younger looking.

    June 30, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34