On Thursday, Olympic fans grappled with the horrifying news that Paralympian and Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius may have pre-meditatively shot and killed his girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkamp. The public took a collective moment to reconsider previously glorifying (and now chilling) portrayals of the double amputee Olympain as a hero.
But The Sun, a News Corp.-owned, UK-based gossip rag, did not use their front page to take a critical look at the man behind the gun. Rather, the paper used the alleged murder as an opportunity to exploit the dead woman’s body, running a photo of Steenkamp in a bikini:
Almost immediately on Friday morning, a petition popped up demanding The Sun apologize for its “distasteful front cover.” Two other British papers, the Mail and the Star, elicited further outrage for running a full photo spread of Steenkamp in lingerie, despite its impertinence to the pending murder trial.
Just two days ago, News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch actually responded to criticism about other sexually exploitative content in The Sun — “Page 3,” which runs topless photos of women. Murdoch said he is considering changing that page, since it is “maybe” outdated.
Perhaps because Steenkamp is a model — or simply because she is beautiful — the press has provided details about the woman that seem absolutely unrelated to the case, including that she is a “regular on the South African party scene.” Few mentioned that Steenkamp was also a law school graduate.