​Anorexic-looking model causes fierce social backlash for Danish magazine

Reuters/Kevin Coombs
A Danish magazine has got into hot water for using a model so thin she looked dangerously malnourished. The publication had to issue an apology, and also faces criticism for removing negative Facebook comments.

Founder of Cover, Malene Malling, appeared on television and social media to say she’s published “magazines for more than 10 years and this time unfortunately I made a huge mistake, which I apologize for.” She also told TV2 the photos should “never have been published.”

“In Cover we try to have a nuanced beauty ideal, and we say no to anyone, where we think there is something wrong. We will not work with girls who are sick. The image of the model reproduced in the media now, I would certainly wish not to have printed.”

When the channel asked her if she green-lighted the photo despite seeing it first, Malling replied: “There are several issues here. There is the question of whether such a girl at all should work, and it is up to the model agency and the girl herself. The question for us is whether we should have printed it or not. I advocate that Cover portray beauty as being many things. But of course, Cover does not celebrate a beauty ideal that looks sickly.”

She added that, on second thought, the picture does make the girl look a bit sick, and that it was her own oversight for allowing the photo to be published, and she reiterated she was “very, very sorry.”

Malling insists the girl, who remains unidentified, is just of small stature, and is actually not sick.

However, once the hashtag #covergate started trending, criticism spread like wildfire, even reaching political circles. Cover magazine also stands accused of allegedly deleting negative comments from its Facebook page.

"I seriously thought that the fashion industry had understood that anorexia is a problem that should be taken seriously," Tax Minister Benny Englebrecht wrote on Twitter.

And Cover magazine’s apologies were brushed off by some users referencing the hashtag.

Whether the magazine is guilty of deleting negative Facebook comments is unclear, but there were plenty there, mainly about accountability and outrage.

“It is a distorted picture of how a young woman should look like. I am so sorry that it's come to this, after so many years of struggle,” said one user, who also voiced disappointment that “ultra-thin girls are on their way into the fashion industry again!”

Another user quoted Malling’s earlier words: “To call her ‘small of stature,’ is in my world to belittle a problem and just apologize for the sake of appearances, for if she ‘simply is small of stature,’ it makes no sense to apologize for the picture.”

One user claims to know the model personally, and calls out pretty much everyone in the comment section for exaggerating and speaking about things they apparently knew nothing about:

“So we went straight from terror to the hysteria over a skinny model!?!?!? I happen to know the model and know that she is neither anorexic nor bulimia etc.,-but yes, she is thin, but eats everything. Shame on you!”