'If you honestly think this cover is soft porn, then y'all should maybe get out more'

Credit: MAARC HOM for EW

Diana Gabaldon has plenty to say about the latest Entertainment Weekly cover photo.

The Outlander author weighed in Monday on the fandom debate over the provocative image, which had the Starz drama’s actors Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in naked-ish embrace. While most fans were extremely enthusiastic about the cover, some thought it was overly salacious for the time-travel romantic adventure tale, or believed the image was too much like a traditional romance novel, or didn’t reflect the show’s depth.

Gabaldon wrote a rather lengthy analysis of the subject on her Facebook page (you can read the whole thing here), but her overall message seemed to be: She liked it!

Here are some of the author’s key counters to fans who were offended:

— “If you honestly think this cover is ‘smut’ or ‘soft porn,’ then all I can say is that y’all should maybe get out more. If you’ve ever watched television in the U.K., you’ve seen more explicit things than this three or four times in an evening. If you’ve been watching Outlander (as theoretically you have), you’ve seen much more explicit sexual encounters on several occasions. Were these not ‘smut’? Is it okay to watch ‘soft porn’ in the privacy of your home, but intolerable that other people should glimpse it on a magazine cover?”

— “Starz promoted season 1 with ‘The Kilt Drops [date],’ in print ads, ads on the sides of buses and ads the height of ten-story buildings. I didn’t see a word of protest that this was ‘cheapening’ our beloved story, or reducing it to the ‘level of a Harlequin romance.’ Why were you totally okay with that bit of sexual innuendo, while the words ‘Bodice-ripper’ (on the cover of a single magazine) makes you foam at the mouth? Is it okay to enjoy male-directed sexual innuendo (and grope kilt-wearing men), while it’s All Wrong to see female-directed sexual references in print?”

— “For those complaining that the EW cover doesn’t properly express the depth, complexity, etc. of the story (books or show)… well…no. It doesn’t. Would you like to suggest a pictorial cover that a) would express that, and b) would appeal instantly to a wide audience? It’s one image; there’s no conceivable way for a single image to encompass this story, or a fraction of it. A magazine cover is meant to do one thing: attract eyeballs. With luck, said eyeballs will zip to Jamie and Claire, but will also see the word Outlander.”

Gabaldon also deeply thanked those who were outraged, noting their reaction to our issue did more to stimulate interest in the show and books “than the EW piece could ever have achieved had it been received with universal approbation by fans.”

Of course, there’s so much more to our cover package on Outlander than just that cover image. To get the full scoop on the upcoming season, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly by buying it here.

Credit: MARC HOM for EW

Episode Recaps

Outlander Season 4 2018


Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time travel novels come to life in the Starz series.

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  • Ronald D. Moore
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