Watch above: Boston Marathon bombing suspect on Rolling Stone cover sparks outrage (July 17)
TORONTO – Several retail stores and chains are set to pull the new issue of Rolling Stone, after the magazine’s decision to profile the Boston Marathon bombing suspect on its August cover sparked public outrage.
The controversial cover, which features a widely-circulated self-portrait of 19-year-old Dzhokhar ‘Jahar’ Tsarnaev, is being labeled by many as “offensive” and “disgusting.”
In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone. (AP Photo)
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty last week in the April 15 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260. Authorities claim Tsarnaev orchestrated the attack with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a shootout with police three days after the bombing.
Many U.S. drugstores and supermarkets, including CVS and Walgreens, said they won’t sell the issue in stores.
“As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones,” read a statement from CVS.
In a statement Wednesday, Rolling Stone said stood behind its decision:
“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families,” it read. “The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS”
Hundreds of social media users lashed out against Rolling Stone on Facebook and Twitter, many vowing to cancel their subscriptions and refusing to read the publication again.
Often reserved for idolized musicians and other celebrities, the magazine featured American convicted serial killer Charles Manson in 1970.
The August cover prompted anger from several politicians, including Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
In a letter to the magazine’s publisher, Menino called the cover “ill-conceived, at best,” and said it rewards Tsarnaev with “celebrity treatment.”
Menino also said that the focus should have been on the “brave and strong survivors and on the thousands of people – their family and friends, volunteers, first responders, doctors, nurses and donors – who have come to their side.”
He wrote: “Among those we lost, those who survived, and those who help carry them forward, there are artists and musicians and dancers and writers. They have dreams and plans. They struggle and strive. The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them.”