‘Vogue Portugal’ Pulls Controversial Cover Of ‘Madness’ Issue

Vogue Portugal has pulled its controversial cover after coming under fire since the release of its upcoming “Madness Issue” issue, placing a focus on mental health.

The cover features model Simona Kirchnerova, huddled in a bathtub with two nurses surrounding her, one of whom is pouring water on her head.

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THE MADNESS ISSUE. COVER 1/4 It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about us. It’s about you. It’s about now. It’s about health. It’s about mental health. #themadnessissue It’s about time. . Edição julho/agosto disponível em vogue.pt/shop Nas bancas disponível a partir de 10 de julho. ___
 July/August issue available at vogue.pt/shop Newsstands available from July 10th. . Photography @branislavsimoncik Styling @ninaford_ @nemamconaseba Hair @janmolnarofficial Make up @lukaskimlicka Models @simonakirchnerova Assistants Branislav Waclav / @PatrikHopjak / @fosia.rvs @exitmodelmanagement . #vogueportugal @lighthouse.publishing #editorinchief @sofia.slucas #creativedirection @jsantanagq

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As BBC News reported, the cover was criticized for glamourizing mental illness, in addition to its use of the term “madness.”

“For those with experience of the psychiatric system, seeing a fashion magazine cover presenting a woman in such a vulnerable state can be a reminder of a very challenging time in their lives,” clinical psychologist Katerina Alexndraki told BBC News.

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“This image reinforces the idea of women being vulnerable and helpless during a mental health breakdown. It does not show us the effort those with mental health put in to overcoming their struggles, their strengths and resistance to overcome adversity,” she added.

Vogue Portugal has since confirmed the cover had been axed, posting on Instagram:

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On such an important issue such as mental health we cannot be divided. Vogue Portugal has taken the decision to pull one of the four covers of our July/August issue, which depicts a scene of a psychiatric hospital as well as the inside cover story based around the topic of mental health. Vogue Portugal deeply apologises for any offence or upset caused by this photo shoot. On reflection, we realise that the subject of mental health needs a more thoughtful approach. We sincerely apologise for this. Num assunto tão importante como a saúde mental, não podemos estar divididos. A Vogue Portugal tomou a decisão de retirar da próxima edição uma das quatro capas do número de julho/agosto, cuja imagem retrata uma cena num hospital psiquiátrico, bem como o restante editorial que estaria dentro da revista sobre o tópico da saúde mental. A Vogue Portugal lamenta profundamente qualquer ofensa ou incómodo que este editorial possa ter causado. Após reflexão, compreendemos que o assunto da saúde mental requer uma abordagem mais ponderada. As nossas sinceras desculpas pelo sucedido. . #vogueportugal @lighthouse.publishing #editorinchief @sofia.slucas

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Portuguese fashion model Sara Sampaio, who has opened up about her own struggles with mental health, took to social media to blast the cover, which she felt was in “very bad taste.”

In a video she shared on Instagram, Sampaio described the cover as looking like “an [outdated] mental hospital” that would “torture” its patients, and “should not be representing the conversation about mental health.”

Following the backlash, Vogue Portugal previously offered a defence of its controversial cover in a statement posted on Twitter, insisting the intent was to “open up the topic of mental health, and bring to the discussion the institutions, the science and the people that are involved with mental health today.”

The statement concluded by acknowledging “the significance of the topic of mental health and our intention, through visual storytelling, is to shine a light on the important issues of today.”

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