At least five retailers with deep New England ties will not sell the Rolling Stone magazine featuring an unsmiling, scruffy Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover.
The picture, which accompanies a story titled “Jahar’s World,” shows the 19-year-old accused murderer with his long, curly hair tousled, reminiscent of the magazine’s iconic shots of rock ‘n’ roll royalty like The Doors’ Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan.
The issue, which hits newsstands Friday, depicts Tsarnaev above a boldface headline, “The Bomber.” The story, which features interviews from childhood friends, teachers and law enforcement agents, promises to reveal how a “popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam, and became a monster.”
Multiple retailers, including CVS and Walgreens, have decided not to carry the issue in their stores.
“CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” the Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain said in a statement. “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.”
Other retailers who have said they will not carry the issue include Walgreens, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, the grocery chain the Roche Bros and Tedeschi Food Shops, a Massachusetts-based convenience store chain.
Other critics of the cover, including Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, struck fast, accusing the magazine of offering Tsarnaev “celebrity treatment” and calling the cover “ill-conceived, at best in a letter written by Menino to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.
“The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them,” the letter concluded.
Rolling Stone, for its part, issued a statement Wednesday saying the story was part of its “long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful” coverage of the most important current political and cultural issues.
“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 statement said.
Rolling Stone did not address whether the photo was edited or filtered in any way in a brief statement offering condolences to bombing survivors and the loved ones of the dead.
In a blog posting late Tuesday, Rolling Stone detailed “five revelations” in the story by contributing editor Janet Reitman, including Tsarnaev’s increasing devotion to Islam while still in high school, as well as his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s possible mental illness, which the boys’ mother decided would be better treated by Islam than by a psychiatrist.
“Around 2008, Jahar’s older brother Tamerlan confided to his mother that he felt like ‘two people’ were inside him,” the blog posting reads. “She confided this to a close friend who felt he might need a psychiatrist, but Zubeidat believed that religion would be the
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