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Enquirer publishes photo of Whitney Houston's body in casket

A photo apparently showing Whitney Houston's body in her casket is on the cover of the National Enquirer this week, and other publications and fans of the singer are reacting with outrage.

The photo is shown both on the cover and inside the tabloid publication. It has not been verified as Houston, but shows a woman wearing a dark dress lying in a coffin. Houston's nickname, "Nippy," and two treble clefs are emblazoned in blue script on the white lining of the casket's cover. Another photo shows the coffin in what appears to be an empty viewing room at a funeral home suggesting that if the photo is real, it was taken when no mourners were present. The funeral was invitation-only.

Cover headlines boast, "Inside her private viewing" and claim Houston was "buried in jewelry worth $500,000," "wore her favorite purple dress," and "had gold slippers on her feet."

Houston was buried from the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., on Feb. 18, a week after she died at age 48 in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton.

Reaction from around the Internet was swift and universally negative. In the Washington Post's Celebritology blog, Sarah Anne Hughes calls the photo "shocking and disturbing." The website Gossip Cop says it "represents the very worst of predatory paparazzi culture."

"Oh yuck. The National Enquirer's Whitney Houston cover is yet another low," tweeted Lisa Fung, executive editor of The Wrap.

Comedian Jim Norton wrote a long Facebook post about the photo, a post which has been shared more than 1,400 times. " I would like the same people who perpetually whine and cry about airport security and how it ‘violates privacy’ to refrain from buying the magazine," Norton says. "Or from even looking at the photo while standing in line in the supermarket. Ahh, that’s right; it’s only a privacy violation when it’s YOUR privacy being infringed upon."

Last week, the Enquirer featured a photo recreation in which a model, photographed in a bathtub and then sprawled on the floor, re-enacted Houston's dying moments. An article on their website features an interview with Tina Brown, sister of Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown, in which she makes disturbing claims about substance abuse with Houston.

Do you think the Enquirer crossed a line by publishing the photo? Share your thoughts on Facebook.

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