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Whitney Houston's Casket Photo – Did the National Enquirer Go Too Far?

A shocking photograph of the late Whitney Houston lying in her coffin during her funeral has sparked controversy and has many questioning if perhaps the National Enquirer has gone too far by publishing the image.

The photograph was splashed on the cover of the tabloid magazine just days after Houston was laid to rest at a private funeral on Sunday in her hometown of Newark, N.J.

"It's just another disgusting display of how low celebrity obsession can stoop," the executive editor of HollywoodLife told Fox News.

"It's shameful, it's just shameful," co-host of "The View," Sherri Shepherd said on the ABC talk show.

SEE VIDEO OF THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER'S WHITNEY HOUSTON CASKET PHOTO

Although many fans and media outlets believe that the National Enquirer went too far by publishing the disturbing photo, others argue that more responsibility lies with the person who took the photo, as opposed to the tabloid.

"It is outrageous, but this is what the National Enquirer does and they've done it for decades. Back in 1977 they did the exact same thing with Elvis Presley," host Jane Velez-Mitchell said on the Headline News program, "Showbiz Tonight."

"This is nothing new. I think what's outrageous is why did somebody agree to take that photo," she added.

Legal correspondent Sunny Hostin agreed with Velez-Mitchell's assessment.

"That's how they sell papers," she said. "This is something that happens with celebrity. I think that we are so entranced with celebrity quite frankly that it's going to sell a lot of the National Enquirer papers."

"But I am also shocked that someone would take the photograph," she added. "Bottom line is, who did something like this?"

The New Jersey funeral home, which was in charge of Houston's funeral services, denies having taken the photo and had expressed disdain at the publishing of the image.

"We have no comment – but it was not the funeral home. [The media] are getting in the middle. I am very angry, very upset, just like the family, just like the fans," funeral director Carolyn Whigham of the Whigham Funeral Home told E! News.

"We don't like it because it implicates us. Whitney was a personal friend to me and my family. We would not do that," she added.

However, the National Enquirer has defended its decision to publish the private picture.

"I thought it was beautiful," publisher Mary Beth Wright told Fox News, adding that the picture was "a work of art."

The tabloid has refused to reveal its source for the image.

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON'S HIT "I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU" HERE

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON'S HIT "THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL" HERE

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON'S HIT "I'M EVERY WOMAN" HERE

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON'S HIT "I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY" HERE

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON'S HIT "IT'S NOT RIGHT BUT IT'S OK" HERE

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON'S FINAL PERFORMANCE BEFORE DEATH

SEE VIDEO OF WHITNEY HOUSTON & BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN PERFORMING "MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE"

SEE VIDEO OF LL COOL J'S PRAYER FOR WHITNEY HOUSTON ON GRAMMYS 2012

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