Rolling Stone Responds to Cover Controversy
By Julie Cannold, CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) — Rolling Stone magazine’s decision to put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, on the cover of its latest issue has ignited a firestorm of outrage online.
The cover picture is one that Tsarnaev himself posted online and has been published widely by other media outlets in the past.
But many took exception to its prominent play in Rolling Stone, where the space is more often than not reserved for rock stars and celebrities.
“Oh look, Rolling Stone magazine is glamourizing terrorism. Awesome,” Adrienne Graham commented on the magazine’s Facebook page. “I will NOT be buying this issue, or any future issues,”
Others echoed similar sentiments.
Words such as “tasteless,” “sickening” and “disgusting” flew around social media.
The photo shows a scraggy-haired, goatee-d Tsarnaev staring straight at the camera.
The text read: “The Bomber. How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”
CVS pharmacies across the country will not sell the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine, the drug store chain announced Wednesday.
Walgreens announced on Twitter Wednesday that it has joined a growing list of U.S. retailers that will not be selling the latest issue of Rolling Stone.
The magazine says the article itself is a deeply-researched account of the suspect.
Among the revelations:
— A public plea from his former wrestling coach may have ultimately convinced Tsarnaev to surrender when police surrounded the boat in which he was hiding.
— He played down the fact that he was a Muslim in high school. But he also took his religion seriously.
— He once let slip to a friend that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could be justified because of U.S. policies toward Muslim countries.
The issue hits newsstands on August 3.
But the magazine’s Facebook post of the cover image has received more than 4,700 comments by early Wednesday morning.
“What a slap in the face to the great city of Boston and the Marathon Bombing victims,” commented Lindsey Williamson.
The cover also brought out comments from the “Free Jahar” movement. (Dzohkhar is also spelled Jahar.)
“#BoycottRollingStone calling Djahar a monster and stirring the pot even more shame on you! Innocent until PROVEN guilty,” tweeted @Jahars_Tsarnaev.
Rolling Stone magazine defended its controversial cover story about Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying it “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 magazine said.
Authorities accuse brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of setting off a pair of bombs just seconds apart near the finish line of the packed Boston Marathon course on Boylston Street on April 15.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed four days later in a shootout with police.
Younger brother Dzhokhar was captured and charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the attack.
Last week, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.