Outcry, Boycotts After Rolling Stone Puts Bomb Suspect On Its Cover

In this magazine cover released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone. (Wenner Media/AP)
In this magazine cover released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone. (Wenner Media/AP)

Several New England-based retail chains say they will not carry the next edition of Rolling Stone magazine because it features surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover.

The just-out cover story details the 19-year-old's alleged radicalization. (See the magazine's statement below.)

Rockland-based Tedeschi's Food Shops, Rhode-Island-based CVS and Boston grocer Roche Bros. said Wednesday they won't carry the edition in their stores.

Tedeschi's said its decision to not carry the edition is out of respect for the bombing victims and their families. CVS said it cannot support an issue that glorifies evil actions. Roche Bros. simply said it will not offer the product.

As soon as Rolling Stone posted the cover image on its Facebook page Tuesday evening, it was swarmed by negative comments.

A separate Facebook group, called Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine for their latest cover, gained more than 60,000 likes by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard "Dic" Donohue, who was wounded in the Watertown shootout with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his slain brother, Tamerlan, released a statement Wednesday calling the cover choice "thoughtless at best":

The City of Boston and the surrounding communities have faced many challenges since the bombings at the marathon finish line. The new cover of Rolling Stone has garnered much attention due to its sensationalized depiction of one of the alleged bombers. My family and I were personally affected by these individuals’ actions. I cannot and do not condone the cover of the magazine, which is thoughtless at best. However, I appreciate our country’s protection of free speech afforded to us by the Constitution. I am confident that our Boston Strong community will remain intrepid and unshaken by the cover of this magazine.

Update at 2:52 p.m.: Rolling Stone has released a statement in response to the controversy, attached to the (just-posted) online version of the story. Here's the statement:

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. 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.

Update at 3:25 p.m.: Walgreens and locally based Cumberland Farms (in an emailed statement) will not be selling the issue, either.

Update at 4:13 p.m.: Star Market/Shaw's won't sell the issue, either. Their statement:

Shaw’s has been part of the New England and Boston communities for over 150 years and we understand on a personal level how profoundly the tragedy surrounding the Boston Marathon has affected our associates and customers. Out of respect for the survivors, those who lost their lives and all of their families and friends, we have made the decision to not sell the August issue of Rolling Stone.

Update at 4:16 p.m.: "Your August 3 cover rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote in a letter to the magazine.

He also said: "The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."

Here's the full letter (via Scribd):

With additional reporting by WBUR's Newscast Unit

This article was originally published on July 17, 2013.

This program aired on July 17, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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