‘Sports Illustrated’ Is Cool With Nearly Killing Kate Upton

Kate Upton, who dons bikini bottoms and a puffy white jacket on the cover of Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue, admitted before the cover’s reveal that the Antarctica-based shoot nearly killed her. "I don’t think you can go to Antarctica and stand in a bikini without that happening," she said. "But I didn’t die, and I’m OK now." Well, thank goodness, because who else could possible smash their boobs together on the cover of a magazine? Upton has taken the practice to a new level. Of course, the editors at Sports Illustrated see nothing wrong with the fact that their editorial vision nearly killed a half-naked woman.

Amanda Hess of Slate writes about getting a comment from the magazine:

I called Sports Illustrated to ask what the magazine was thinking putting Upton in that situation, and what it thinks of the decision now. Knowing Upton’s symptoms, which are consistent with hypothermia, does SI feel that Antarctica is an appropriate place to stage swimsuit shoot? “It’s on the cover,” was the magazine spokesman’s response. Later, in an emailed statement, he volleyed the responsibility back to Upton. "From the very beginning, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit franchise has put the models first,” he wrote. “We foster a very collaborative environment working closely with the models throughout the planning and execution of our shoots. This was again the case for the Antarctica production which we worked on with Kate for several months before embarking on the trip and during the six-day shoot." (Upton, for the record: “I was very surprised by the news that that’s where my shoot was going to be located.”)

As a reminder, here’s Upton going into details of how she suffered during the shoot:

“I’m naked and trying to change,” she told David Letterman of her weeklong experience in subzero temperatures. “I literally couldn’t move my legs, so the editors would have to pick up my legs and put them into my next outfit.” The effects continued when Upton returned to American soil. “When I came back, I was losing my hearing and eyesight,” she said with a smile on the Today show. “My body was shutting down because it was working so hard to keep me warm."

I mean, is worker’s compensation even an option here? I get that models are basically freelance workers, but I can tell you I’d never risk hypothermia for a gig, even if it got me on a giant billboard in New York City.

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