Drugstores, Supermarkets Boycott Rolling Stone Over Boston-Bomber Cover

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The drugstore chain CVS and Tedeschi Food Shops, both based in New England, are among the businesses that have announced they won’t sell the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine because it features a dreamy cover photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured hundreds.

News of the Boston-bomber cover story spread quickly on Tuesday night, prompting immediate outrage — especially in the Boston area. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, stating that the magazine cover “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment. It is ill-conceived, at best, and reaffirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their ‘causes.’”

CVS, based in Woonsocket, R.I., announced on Wednesday morning that the August issue of Rolling Stone would not be sold in its stores. The company explained the decision on its Facebook page:

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.

“Music and terrorism don’t mix!” declares the Facebook page of Tedeschi Food Shops in its announcement that the New England supermarket chain will not stock the new Rolling Stone because the company “cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone.”

Two other large supermarket chains, Big Y and Stop & Shop, also announced that they would refuse to sell the August Rolling Stone, as have Walgreens drugstores. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Boycott Rolling Stone for Their Latest Cover Facebook page has received over 68,000 Likes.

For the most part, the boycotts and complaints about Rolling Stone focus specifically on the controversial cover (TIME is no stranger to controversial cover photos as well, of course), not the actual story, titled “Jahar’s World” and written by Janet Reitman. “There may be valuable journalism behind your sensational treatment, though we can’t know because almost all you released is the cover,” Mayor Menino’s July 17 letter to Wenner states.

The cover photo that has drawn all the outrage shows a doe-eyed Tsarnaev with a mop of curly hair, in a hazy sepia tone. The accused terrorist has been given the “rock-star treatment” by the magazine, many have said.

Rolling Stone defended its story, releasing the following 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.

73 comments
Damarru
Damarru

Itsssss a shame such an important music magazine to do that... He could be a really cool cover for other reason if he hadn't done such a terrible act .. But this one totally disrespect those hurt by him.......... I would neverrrrrrrrrrrrrr sell it in my store.

Sorry Rolling Stone, you went too far.

jbyong
jbyong

I read the article and this is for people who have not read it. Rolling Stone wanted to be edgy and they thought it was cool that pic looked like Jim Morrison since you know they are like magazine about iconic rock stars.  But they went too far. The article romanticizes terrorist Jahar and is just as DISGUSTING as the Teen Beat cover. Beautiful, soulful eyes - R U Kidding me? Who says this about cold blooded remorseless killer???  Brothers were lazy potsmokers who never had real jobs and Americans paid for their welfare and this dirtbag Jahar even got scholarship to go to college. Jahar wasted his college by smoking pot and he was failing classes. They blame financial problems on parents who left for Russia and "boring" college. The article was more about blaming society and everyone else to humanize Jahar as the poor soul victim. The cover was appropriate for article because both wanted to make you feel sorry for Jahar. Even though he killed maimed 250+ Americans and partied and prob smoked pot after bombing. It was SICK OFFENSIVE COVER and ARTICLE and Rolling Stone just trying to be edgy and sell magazine.  Too bad the author and editors did not lose any family members to the bombings to see how disgusting and hurtful to victims this had caused.  Oh yeah that Manson cover was 20 years ago and at least the editor at that time had decency not to use Manson picture that looked like Teen Beat or teen rock star.  Mugshot would have shown this is what happens when you KILL PEOPLE! IDIOT EDITORS! Irresponsible JOURNALISM

WWoman
WWoman

OK so lets look at this critically from another perspective that I see hasn't been mentioned here.  Let's take a cold hard look at Rolling Stone whose sales have been dropping and as a result it can be concluded that this controversial cover picture is type of CPR for the magazine.  I realize that they wanted to put a different perspective out there, and probably considered the benefit would outweigh the risk.  Afterall, they are doing something different but not so different from putting charles manson on the cover.  What they didn't consider though, when they did that is the millions of runners, such as I, who have no direct relation to the runners who participated in the boston marathon, yet whose heart collapsed from the news of the bombing.  Amongst many runners, is an unspoken respect for each other as if there is an unofficially recognized club that we all belong to together, all striving to reach the finish line or to beat our last time.  In regards to charles manson and other controversal people on the cover, there is feeling of disconnection with the victims, as cold as that may sound in which we can discuss things more easily from an academia standpoint.   In the case of the Boston victims, vomit surfaces into our throats at the possiblility that the cover of rolling stone, coveted by many musical artists, would glorify a terrorist by placing him on the cover.  In addition to the immediate adversity to the cover, is the resurfacing of pain piercing us, with the realization that if we had decided to sign up for that particular marathon, our children might be without parents or we might be without our children.  Basically the realization of "that could have been me or my child or my spouse!"  You might say well shouldn't you feel the same about Charles Manson and I would say you would need to be certain type of runner to truly understand.  You want us to critically think in an academic way about your article but it is the equivalent of stepping into a funeral or a hospital and demanding the victims think from an educational standpoint when they are still dealing with coping with the loss of limb or the loss of their child.   

FrankBurns1
FrankBurns1

Having you picture there does not make you a star. It just gets people to buy it, and read the article, which explains how a kid just like yourself could become a terrorist and a "monster" as the byline reads. I agree wholeheartedly with the magazine and I am against the kneejerk reaction of people who have never read it or the article in question. In other words, we tend to think of terrorists as "them", but this issue of Rolling Stone points out how it can be "we" if we are not careful. Kudos to the editors.

LisaMercado
LisaMercado

**** you Rolling Stone. I bet if your buildings got bombed you would be writing a different story. This is the most messed up magazine you've ever published. What a slap to face for the Boston people that are still suffering.

mbtexas
mbtexas

Amazing that these stores pull Rolling Stone now, but keep on selling the tabloids and other magazines that glamorize infidelity, drunkeness, drugs, etc.  Nothing but hypocrites. 

eqxander
eqxander

Whatever happened to "Boston Strong"? In the wake of the bombing everyone was sympathetic to the victims, now trashy people shouting "freedom of the press" condone this outstanding effort in poor taste and bad judgment.


Does RS have the RIGHT to publish this story? Of course they do, SHOULD they have done it, especially the way they did?


No, this piece is intentionally inflammatory. Anyone who has any sympathies for the victims can not, in good conscience support this outrageous edition of the magazine.


In the wake of 911, Americans all over the country showed solidarity with each other and the victims, how can this possibly be any different?

ScallywagNYC
ScallywagNYC

So let's cut to the chase. What's the real role of media? Is it to offend, provoke, entertain, inform, titillate, cater to preferred tastes or to challenge those tastes?

Or how about the idea that the idea of the press is for it to explore whatever themes it dare chooses albeit as long as it refrains from slandering or perjuring individuals? Which is to say if the mainstream press can saturate and numb us with images of entertainment icons why shouldn’t a magazine be allowed to run a feature of an individual who for better or worse has shaped our understanding of society? 

Who knows maybe the role of press is just to be an obsequious marketing tool to preferred dogma and keeping the sheep den cozy....sorry not all terrorists are hunch back  tyrants but sometimes the boy next door gone disturbed, or is that headline not fitting with our high brow moral codes?

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/07/was-rolling-stone-wrong-to-idolize-boston-bomber-dzhokhar-tsarnaev/

therifleman57
therifleman57

They airbrushed him & softened his image to make him look like some boy band wanna-be. Disgusting!

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

I don't understand the outrage.  Its a picture of a suspect.  What % of RS circulation comes from these outlets, hence what is the boycott going to accomplish?   Glamour picture?  Really?  Looks like a punk to me, just like all his other pictures.   I think the point was: here is a young man, like many others, so "normal" to the world....how did he get so messed up?   We should ask bigger questions....why are guns so easy to get?  Why have our rights to privacy been so diluted?  People who get upset over this picture get upset easily.  As far as the editors go, they upset someone somewhere with every selection of articles, pictures, ads.  I saw an ad in my big city newspaper the other day for sex enhancements.  Find that far more offensive than a picture of a punk I have already seen too much of.

tassy
tassy

The FB page mentioned now has over 147,000 likes

one4isis
one4isis

Good for CVS, Tedeschi, Walgreens and the others boycotting Rolling Stone.  I've been a reader of RS for years, but will no longer be buying it.  I know they're looking for shock value, but there is certainly a difference between being controversial and being irresponsible.  Maybe I'm too close to this as I live in Boston and saw how this terrorist shut down the entire city.  I have no problem with RS doing a story on this, but I think having this guy on the cover of RS this way is shows a total lack of respect for those who were affected.  Maybe if they had shown a picture of him bleeding in the boat crying for mercy it would have been better, or a picture of him running over his half dead brother while attempting to escape.  Know what, it'd just be better if they had the Boston Strong logo on the front cover and since RS used to be a music magazine, they could have pics of the bands that donated their time/support for the Boston Strong Concert... Bad move Rolling Stone.

ReedSmith
ReedSmith

Someone editors have really lost the way to the room of "common sense"; their "common sense" compass has been broken beyond repair with this.  Fortunately, some in this country still have theirs, but I fear for this country that something as boneheaded as this could occur, and people (mostly on the left) stand around stupidly saying "what?", "what's wrong?", "what did I do?"...fact they can't recognize it, and it takes people from the "flyover" country to point out the obvious speaks volumes.

leon1376
leon1376

How many women write love letters to mass murderers and marry them and want to have their babies? Every time a serial killer gets tossed in the kink, hundreds, if not thousands, of women write and send pictures of themselves naked and articles of used underwear. The same dynamic is at work at Rolling Stone. The ancient Greeks called it "hybristology". There's a certain kind of personality that worships cold-blooded killers. I swear, some of al-Qaida's biggest fans work inside the US State Department. Keep an eye on this sort of thing in the future. It will only get worse.

DavidThompson
DavidThompson

From the Marathon videos and his own admissions, I would say he's probably going to be found guilty, but how about we give him a fair trial before we make the pronouncement.  In light of that, what difference does it make if he looks "dreamy" to allowing a magazine to write an interesting article?  We have no critical thinking skills left in this country -- everything is just political positioning and propaganda..

glennra3
glennra3

There are people here who are more concerned about a photograph on the cover of a magazine than the fact that guns are as easy to get in the U.S. as cheeseburgers.


I guess guns don't kill people -  people kill people -  but apparently pictures are able to destroy the culture and convince otherwise intelligent young people to put down their books and go on a killing spree in order to get on the cover of Rolling Stone.


Yeah, our country has an issue with misplaced priorities.



patsfan1287
patsfan1287

I'm not sure what I think of the cover, though the article definitely seems interesting, (one of the first thoughts I had when this happened was to wonder what could possibly have made these two men do this), and there have been covers featuring Hitler, Charles Manson, OJ Simpson, Osama Bin Laden and many others. My real concern is with the willingness we Americans seem to have to suddenly allow corporations to decide these issues for us. We have a constitution that allows freedom of the press and speech, but more and more companies are determining what we citizens are able to have access to. If a company thinks that something will offend customers; they now pull it from the shelves.  Look what they have done to Paula Dean for admitting to saying the N-word >20 years ago! If you are offended by this cover, don't purchase the magazine or contact the editor, but don't give up the decision as to what should be available to corporations!  

MostafaSamir
MostafaSamir

i'm not defending the mag cover , but do you people recognize that he is still a " suspect " ??????!!!!!!!!  authorities still unsure that he is the bomber !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RONTHINKblog
RONTHINKblog

Ooooh...a newsstand boycott. The exact place most of us DON'T buy magazines anymore. You see there's this thing called the internet and these doohikies called tablets, computers, mobile phones, iPads, Nooks and Kindles. Not selling something where most people don't buy it anyway is almost as asinine as the freak-out over a cover on a magazine that shows the same picture that has already appeared in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, websites and cable news shows. Never mind that the article also happens to be expertly researched, well-written and infinitely more intelligent than most of the bile I've read from people who have not seen anything more than the cover shot. This crazed reaction is exactly why we need articles like this. We are a country that moves from drama to drama without ever taking the time to examine anything with reason or substantive thought. Putting images of victims on the covers of magazines didn't prevent Columbine, Newtown or Virginia Tech from happening any more than this image on the cover of Rolling Stone will encourage the next act of terror (nor would eliminating the cover prevent it). I live in the Boston area, I covered the bombing extensively and I had dear friends who were there that day. I want know how a kid who looks like so many others out there became a perpetrator of an act of terror and this Rolling Stone piece is a big step in that direction. Pull you heads out of the sand and stop pretending that your 140 characters of moral outrage will do anything more than make you feel good about yourself for all of five minutes.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

As a "professional news source," ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF ITSELF.

It's a disgusting, tasteless cover. 

To be 'edgy' is one thing.  However, to provide celebrity coverage to a terrorist beyond the pale, and beyond appalling.

With their display of such piss-poor judgment, it will be years before I read Rolling Stone again.

Good riddance to them!

MissyEmanuel
MissyEmanuel

If you want to ask why people turn violent, why not put the victims on the cover? This terrorist killed an 8 year old & others, and maimed many.

Birdman
Birdman

My retrieval on this story is that history repeats itself.  If we as a nation shut our eyes to the roots and causes of the terrorist act everything associated with this incident Just because he looks like any decent upstanding young kid and he's on the cover looking as he was, before he decided to become a terrorist. You are missing the fact that that is part of the Story.  If you close your mind and do not learn from it the story will likely be repeated, because that is how history works.  

bobbutts
bobbutts

@Damarru I'm just going to guess if there wasn't a bandwagon to jump on for this you wouldn't have given it a second thought.  It's only outrageous because someone told you it is.

WWoman
WWoman

I just realized that my reference to "your' might be confusing so I'de like to explain that "your" is a reference to speaking to Rolling Stone and not a reference to the author of the Time's article above.

RonJerm
RonJerm

@FrankBurns1 You know, no one cared much about Charles Manson until he got on the Rolling Stone cover and yet he that dumb murderer is glorified by the likes of Columbine Shooters, psycopaths, and dysfunctional kids even in this day of age because of his notoriety and celebrity status he received back in the day by the media and what not. Don't act like it's not a big deal you dimwit.

bobbutts
bobbutts

@LisaMercado are you really that angry because of the cover and truly protecting the suffering, or just enjoying the chance to participate in an angry mob.

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

@mbtexas Hustler probably is happy to have more space.  (showing my age, is Hustler still around?)

BruddahNui
BruddahNui

@eqxander These are nothing less than sympathizers. We are still with the people of Boston.

glennra3
glennra3

@therifleman57

No, they did not. Don't believe me. Use your own computer and Google "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev" and look at the Facebook page that RS used.


People are angry that this guy doesn't look the way crazy killers are supposed to look (like Jared Loughner). That is an issue you should take up with god, not Rolling Stone.

LisaMercado
LisaMercado

They used home made bombs not guns. The right to bare arms is in the American constitution why mess with something that was given to us by our fore fathers. If you take away that right then whos to say in the future the government also rallys against our right to freedom of speech. You think gangsters and criminals actually register or buy their guns according to the law? No. Just like drugs, guns will be getting imported illigally from other countries making millions for the actions that our Government has done. If everyone had a gone no one will draw.

LisaMercado
LisaMercado

Totally agree! The Boston survivors should be in the deb cover or him being handcuffed

therifleman57
therifleman57

@glennra3  Quit changing the subject. They doctored the photo to make him look like some boy band member. Enough with this disgusting crap!

dpatricksawyer
dpatricksawyer

@RONTHINKblog

 @RONTHINKblog 

"I covered the bombing extensively"

 So, are you a professional journo? Or just some stupid blogger that fills the internet void?

I have been a journalist for some 40 years in five countries (national newspapers, TV, etc). I think the cover glamorizes a terrorist. Not good journalism, especially for Rolling Stone. The magazine is not just an "entertainment" mag, it has covered some important social issues over the years, but the eds got it wrong on this one.

BruddahNui
BruddahNui

@RONTHINKblog I guess your rationalizing got you your five minutes of feel good. Your words hold no weight and your humanity is nonexistent. Your a fool who lives in a make believe world of ignorance concerning the Koran and the Islamic movement which would continue as it is now no matter what the behavior of the US. Submit is the only acceptable behavior to the Islamic power base and you are no more than a fool.

RONTHINKblog
RONTHINKblog

@MissyEmanuel So how will putting the images of victims on the cover change that? We saw plenty of Newtown massacre victims on covers and look what that got us...NOTHING.

yoyoitsthemeepshow
yoyoitsthemeepshow

@bobbutts @Damarru bobbutts, so if the cover featured someone who raped your mother, then anyone who got offended would just be a "bandwagon jumper"?

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

@LisaMercado  hmm, they used guns in their shootout and carjacking...not really my point, I was trying to say there are bigger questions to ask then why is this guy on the cover of RS.  Our fore fathers also said blacks were worth 3/5 of a person.  If we hold one part of the constitution sacred then how do we decide other parts are not?  And that whole question about what was intended for well regulated militia has been determined only by a right wing SCOTUS, not by consensus.   We will take that up again when Scalia or Thomas drop out (hopefully sooner than later).   I digress.  Bigger questions Lisa, bigger questions.  You mean like the gangsters that run Wall Street and the insurance industry.... Just kidding...... I'm still trying to figure out your last two sentences. 

glennra3
glennra3

@therifleman57 @glennra3

You do know this is the age of the Internet, don't you? Type "Tsarnaev" into your favorite search engine and look at the pictures of the kid for yourself. RS took a photo from the kid's Facebook page.


He looks the way he looks. Sometimes criminals are cute. What are you going to do about it?

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@BruddahNui @RONTHINKblog 
'You're a fool', Eisnstein.  

If you are going to call someone's intelligence into question don't look uneducated in your own post.  
That is all.

BruddahNui
BruddahNui

@RONTHINKblog @MissyEmanuel How about he gets half the page and the other half shows what he did? A little reality with his touched up pic. His pic isn't worth a thousand words but the other half recognizing the victims would show volumes as to who he is. The Newtown pics may not have gotten you anything but it did touch many people. It's a shame it didn't touch?

therifleman57
therifleman57

@glennra3 @therifleman57 They know that some silly teenage girls are groupies & think he's cute. Doing a story is one thing- plastering his face on the cover is a slap in the face to the bombing victims.