Hannah Davis, whose controversial cover shot graces the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, went on NBC’s Today Show Monday to defend the revealing photo from its highly vocal critics.
In what even the photo’s supporters are calling the most revealing, raciest cover image in the 51 year history of Sports Illustrated‘s annual cash cow edition, the 24-year-old U.S. Virgin Islands-born model is depicted not only displaying the expected cleavage in her bikini top, but she also is shown hooking her thumbs into her bikini bottom, lowering the already-skimpy garment to the point where it nearly reveals her private parts.
A conservative group, known as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, has already attacked the Hanah Davis cover image as “pornographic” and claiming it “normalizes genital display.”
The crusading group — which is also leading a boycott campaign against the film 50 Shades Of Grey, scheduled to be released this weekend — has already dispatched a letter to leading magazine retailers including Walmart, CVS, 7-Eleven, and Costco.
In the letter, the group asks that the chains obscure the magazine’s cover with an opaque wrapping, as they would for an adult magazine such as Playboy or Penthouse, which often features nudity on the cover.
“Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Swimsuit issue’s cover does not simply feature a beautiful woman in a bikini, it borders obscenity as the focus is specifically on the exposed pubic area,” said the group’s Executive Director, Dawn Hawkins.
But according to Sports Illustrated itself, the magazine has received no complaints from its retailers regarding the cover image.
— SI Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) February 5, 2015
Davis herself, who despite two previous appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, is best known as the sometime girlfriend of 40-year-old retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, told Today Show host Matt Lauer that she saw nothing wrong with the cover image of her “torso.”
“I think you’re making it look a lot naughtier than it really is, to be honest,” Davis said on the Today broadcast.
“To be honest, I think SI always tries to do something a little different every year, and I think this year, it’s the year of the torso.”
There is something else a little different about the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year as well. As Forbes Magazine pointed out, while last year’s issue weighed in at 252 pages, this year’s edition drops to 220 — a loss in advertising that Forbes said shows the decline of not just the Swimsuit Issue, but the magazine overall.