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.