‘National Enquirer’ Whitney Houston Casket Photo Draws Backlash

The National Enquirer‘s decision to publish a photo of the late Whitney Houston in an open casket has sparked a firestorm of outrage across the pop landscape — even Perez Hilton blasted the Enquirer‘s move as a “tasteless, insensitive, morbid thing to do”. Condemnations have poured in from numerous artists (and competing media outlets), but does it all add up to a bigger payday for the tabloid?

Onetime American Idol contestant turned We Are The Fallen singer Carly Smithson tweeted the thoughts of many, saying: “The National Enquirer is disgusting !!!!!!! Shame on them !!!!!”

The appearance of the photo has also touched off a series of heated questions about how and why it was shot in the first place. Though the Enquirer claims the photo was taken at the Whigham Funeral Home in New Jersey (in other words, prior to Houston’s funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church), the funeral home director insists that is not the case.

“I’m going to answer you as the publicist told me to answer you: We have no comment. But it was not the funeral home,” the funeral home owner, Carolyn Whigham, has told reporters. “You guys are getting me in the middle,” she said, noting that the publicity around the photo is threatening her reputation.

When asked to explain, she added: “I am very angry, very upset, just like the family, just like the fans,” she said of the Enquirer photo. “We don’t like it because it implicates us. Whitney was a personal friend to me and my family. We would not do that.”

But hey, not everyone was upset: The National Enquirer‘s publisher Mary Beth Wright defended the use of the photo to FoxNews.com, calling the image “beautiful.”

Houston, who died at age 48 the day before this year’s Grammy Awards, was buried in a private ceremony on Sunday.

Will the Enquirer suffer any real consequences for publishing the photo? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments.