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Stores, Fans Boycott 'Rolling Stone' Over Cover Featuring Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev


Rolling Stone is facing huge backlash over its decision to feature Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarvaev on its August 2013 cover, the NY Daily News reports:

Boldly labeled "The Bomber," the teenaged Boston Marathon bombing suspect's portrait is splashed across the upcoming issue’s cover, usually reserved for rock stars and celebrities.

Tens of thousands have now vowed to boycott the magazine on a related Facebook page since the magazine debuted their controversial cover with many calling its decision "shameful," “sickening” and "glorifying" of an accused killer and terrorist.

More than 11,000 have additionally stormed the magazine’s direct Facebook page with angry comments and hundreds of others have slammed a related article on the magazine's website — some vowing to cancel their subscriptions.

The Facebook page calling for a boycott currently has more than 50,000 supporters.

Stores everywhere are dropping the issue, Boston Magazine reports:

On Wednesday afternoon, as the outrage continued to swirl on social media, the owners of Tedeschi’s posted a statement and the above photo, indicating that they would not be placing the issue on their store shelves because they didn’t want to shed light on Tsarnaev, and call attention to his actions based on his portrayal on the cover. “Tedeschi Food Shops supports the need to share the news with everyone, but cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone. With that being said, we will not be carrying this issue of Rolling Stone. Music and terrorism don’t mix,” the company said in a statement on their Facebook page.

Similarly, CVS chains will also hold off from promoting the Tsarnaev cover. In a statement from the company, representatives said they couldn’t support Rolling Stone. “CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. 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.”

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  1. Haven't looked at the rag in 25 years. This is a beautifully executed swan dive into infamy and eventual obscurity. Bravo!

    Posted by: Geoff | Jul 17, 2013 1:10:59 PM

  2. I love this popular backlash stuff, when public people, corporations or venues make a wrong move the people, more and more, have a powerful say. Good.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 17, 2013 1:11:47 PM

  3.'s current news and events. Rolling Stone often does such stories. They haven't been a music-only magazine in quite some time.

    I welcome the shining of light into nooks and crannies.

    Posted by: Dave in NYC | Jul 17, 2013 1:15:02 PM

  4. wtf were they thinking?!!!!!! Giving him a cover that usually has rock stars and celebrities on it?!!! WOWWWWW!!!

    Posted by: AJ | Jul 17, 2013 1:15:33 PM

  5. To me the "outrage" over this magazine cover is even more than usually stupid, and that takes some effort. What exactly is the thinking here, that because Tsarnaev looks "cute" on the cover then 1000s of other cute, floppy haired teens are going to commit terrorist acts? Would it be different if it was a picture of Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza, James Holmes or any other mass killer looking "normal" or is it because radical Islam was involved that makes it "offensive"? Is it because Tsarnaev doesn't look suitably EVIL in the pic?

    Well isn't that the whole fvcking POINT of the article?! It promises to tell you how Tsarnaev went from a normal looking, fully Americanized teen to being radicalized, someone who could commit a terrorist act like the Boston Marathon bombing. "He went from THIS (the photo) to becoming a monster, and we're going to tell you how that happened."

    It make me MORE likely to read the article (which is, after all, what a mag cover is supposed to do) because I want to understand HOW he went from the photo to what he later became. If the photo was of him looking evil and scary then you don't have to think any further about it, you can write him off as having ALWAYS been a "monster" even if that isn't the case.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 17, 2013 1:22:53 PM

  6. Another reason for crazy people to do do crazy things: become an iconic magazine cover. Only in America there's this Charles Mason complex.

    Posted by: Felix | Jul 17, 2013 1:22:56 PM

  7. I don't understand the backlash they frequently do news. How is this different from his image being on TIME or USA TODAY? They have previously had covers of politicians, TV shows, movies, war photos, etc.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Jul 17, 2013 1:24:27 PM

  8. Not really good PR for Armani Exchange...

    Posted by: Anthony | Jul 17, 2013 1:25:34 PM

  9. I'm with Caliban. I do not like the glorification of criminal culture; "Natural Born Killers", if you will.

    But there's something to be said about about not just finding out what made a young man into a killer, but (seriously) juxtaposing something that is "safe for the picture frame" with something heinous.

    it's all too easy to believe that Evil Looks Like ____________. The truth is different.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 17, 2013 1:27:18 PM

  10. I'm a big Rolling Stone fan - it has some of the best written articles out there - the celebrity profiles and investigative pieces are especially good. But the cover is insensitive. They're better than this.

    Posted by: Richie | Jul 17, 2013 1:27:47 PM

  11. Where was all this outrage and boycotting when both TIME and Newsweek featured OJ Simpson on their covers? I personally am not concerned either way if Dzhokhar Tsarvaev is featured on the cover or not. I am more concerned with the quality of the article that is written. TIME magazine survived making the Ayatollah Khomeini Man of the Year in 1979 and putting his picture on the cover, I think Rolling Stone will do just fine with all the people who never or rarely purchased a copy of their magazine calling for a boycott. Grow up people. Just grow up.

    Posted by: GMinSD | Jul 17, 2013 1:27:50 PM

  12. Rolling Stone has always been a cultural magazine, not just a music one alone, and has often featured analysis pieces on political news (hello, Matt Taibbi?), and putting somebody on a magazine cover does not and never has equalled "glorifying" them.

    In other words, this is the most idiotic, non-controversial controversy I've witnessed in quite some time, and proves only that not everything people say on social media is worth paying any attention to.

    Posted by: Craig S | Jul 17, 2013 1:27:53 PM

  13. Not only that, they even used his best photo. Why? Trying to soften his image or cause more hysteria among his female 'fans' on Tumblr?

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 17, 2013 1:28:35 PM

  14. F # C K Rolling Stone.

    They're making a murderer look glamorous. They're making a terrorist look sexy and cool.

    The circulation of this rag has been waning, and hopefully this will end them for good.

    Totally selling their soul to the devil in the name of selling a few more magazines.

    You want to discuss what happened with this loser, his life, how he got into radical Islam? Sure, go ahead. I encourage it. BUT DON'T put his ugly face on the cover looking like he's some effing rock star!

    Posted by: Shawn | Jul 17, 2013 1:28:43 PM

  15. if only the American public would get outraged like this over things that really matter.

    Posted by: krispy | Jul 17, 2013 1:28:51 PM

  16. @FernLaPlante

    The issue is really that he is cute. If he looked like KSM then no one would think twice about it. People don't want to look at the newsstand and think who is that cute twink and then be all ohhhh its the mass murderer

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Jul 17, 2013 1:29:49 PM

  17. @Craig S.- You are wrong.

    Ex Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    Glorify (adv) - 1
    a : possessing or deserving glory : illustrious
    b : entitling one to glory

    Glory (n) - 1 a : praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : renown
    b : worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving

    How is the cover of a magazine not a place of Honor?

    Seems to me, an Editor should be losing his or her job over this.

    Posted by: SFRowGuy | Jul 17, 2013 1:38:26 PM

  18. "Trying to soften his image or cause more hysteria among his female 'fans' on Tumblr?"

    How about just trying to make you curious why and how the "cutie" in the picture turned into the absolute POS who murdered and maimed dozens of people?

    If it was a picture of Charles Manson in his younger rock-star wannabe years, maybe even looking attractive, is that going to make people feel warm and fuzzy about him? Is it going to make other people want to start their own cult and murder movie stars? I seriously doubt it.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 17, 2013 1:38:44 PM

  19. The magazine is being insensitive and uncaring. Lives were lost, people were injured and the criminal is being exalted.

    Posted by: Jeff | Jul 17, 2013 1:45:00 PM

  20. I think I'll buy two copies. As others have pointed out, Rolling Stone has covered hard news and culture for ages.

    Often times their articles are thought provoking. That's what this is, a cover piece meant to provoke thought.

    Too bad, America only seems to experience outrage anymore. Christ, but the US has a bad case of "Fat Elvis," only tell us what we want to hear how we hear it.

    Posted by: Kevin F | Jul 17, 2013 1:47:13 PM

  21. It's one thing to do a story on Tsarnaev. It's another thing to put him on the cover like a rock star, particularly when there is a subset of people who already idolize him. This was not cutting edge, it was bad judgment.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 17, 2013 1:48:36 PM

  22. This is only a controversy for those who don't want to have to read but just want their news provided in simple picture frames with little thought required. Pretending like this is glorifying him would be like saying front pages of the bombing itself glorified bombing. That only works in an illiterate culture, since "in theory" we are a literate culture the picture must be considered part of the story and as others have pointed out, it is the whole point of the story. Right after the bombing every crazy was looking for the guys in beards and robes screaming JIHAD as the bombers, and it turned out to be two brothers who had seemed so well adjusted (well one anyway) and more or less normal looking...

    Posted by: Randyowen | Jul 17, 2013 1:50:26 PM

  23. I'm guessing you guys not getting it must be too young to remember when making "the cover of Rolling Stone" was considered a status symbol for aspiring celebrities. The people boycotting are most likely reacting in relation to how this particular magazine's cover has functioned socially. Of course they've always covered news, politics, social issues. But the cover photos were for a long time a sign a celebrity had "made it."

    Posted by: Shelly | Jul 17, 2013 1:51:45 PM

  24. Indeed, the cover is insensitive, and it leads me to infer that Rolling Stone is trying to be cutting edge by doing this. They think they're going to get attention from this, but it's not going to be the kind they wanted.

    If I had a friend or relative that died or was injured by the bombers and saw this guy's face on the cover of RS, I would be furious and rightly so. Just because we have freedom of speech doesn't mean we can throw good taste out the window.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 17, 2013 1:53:00 PM

  25. Putting somebody on a magazine cover does not constitute "honouring" them, because it's not suggesting that he should be valorized or appreciated or hero-worshipped for it. All it is, is an acknowledgement that there's an article about him in the magazine. Nothing more.

    People who do bad things end up on the covers of news publications all the time without the publication being accused of "glorifying" them -- so why on earth would this be any different?

    Posted by: Craig S | Jul 17, 2013 1:54:26 PM

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