OK! pay £500,000 for dying Michael Jackson photo

Magazine publishing hit rock bottom and skidded off the tarmac today with the news that OK! Magazine have used the last remaining picture of a dying (or dead) Michael Jackson as a front page splash. Today's front cover picture, for which OK! paid £500,000, shows the singer being rushed to hospital on a stretcher.

OK! editorial director Sarah Ivens defended the controversial editorial choice. “It’s a photo that captures the surprise and the upset and the moment of this breaking news story . . . I hope the cover will provoke readers. It celebrated the man, but it also does expose that he was an eccentric character who lived a very controversial life". OK! spokesperson Brian Strong added to the rather thinly veiled excuse for mega money making by claiming that that "the cover represents an event in the history of an extremely entertaining and controversial figure and is sure to provoke some emotion and questions from readers and fans about the circumstances. The news often does."

MJ fans have reacted furiously to the use of the photo claiming that the magazine has mercilessly cashed in on the final moments of a man whose whole life was dominated by the pursuit of money. His family have allegedly moved to have further such pictures banned from sale.

OK! Magazine is recovering from criticism over their handling of Jade Goody's death after they published a tribute to the reality star and reported her 'final words' a week before she died. Will this latest crass money making scheme tarnish the image of the UK's favourite gossip mag - or will sales, as when Jade died, simply shoot through the roof?

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