Rolling Stone Boston Bomber cover boycotted

Rolling Stone magazine’s upcoming issue features a photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev looking like a teen idol on its cover, which has caused outrage on social media. The headline reads: “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.” Backlash was immediate following the cover being posted on the magazine’s Facebook page Tuesday night. There were over 16,000 negative comments by Wednesday, with an additional 3,500 comments when they posted the cover again with a link to the article. A comment from J Harper Philbin that read, “Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs, should be on cover,” received 3,572 likes. Many Facebook users were outraged and threatened to unsubscribe. Similar comments exploded all over Twitter, saying Rolling Stone should be ashamed for glorifying a terrorist.

Two retailers have released public statements saying they are banning the issue from being sold at their locations. Tedeschi Food Shops Inc. posted on Facebook: “We will not be carrying this issue of Rolling Stone. Music and terrorism don’t mix!” Pharmacy chain CVS also released a statement, saying they “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.”

Criminologist Jack Levin told that featuring Tsarnaev on the cover sends out a dangerous message, telling young people: “If they want to become famous, kill somebody.” In response, Rolling Stone released 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.” ~Alfonso Espina

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Comments & Discussion

  1. nadine • July 18, 2013 @ 9:15 AM

    terrible choice for Rolling Stone to make! theres so many music stars they could have featutred, including ones that are doing benefits for the victims.

  2. Snepts • July 18, 2013 @ 9:25 AM

    Rolling Stone has been a joke for some time; by boycotting this cover, people are just ensuring its future as a collectible.

  3. Wynder • July 18, 2013 @ 9:38 AM

    They could have done a story on him inside the magazine if they wanted, but featuring him on the cover is unacceptable. A very poor choice for this publication to make.

  4. David • July 18, 2013 @ 10:10 AM

    This is disgusting. Rolling Stone should really take a hint and pull this thing themselves.

  5. Deb • July 18, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

    I will also boycott this mag forever! Another case of: Sympathy for the devil. To think of all musicians that could be brought to front row centre or even ones that need a bit of :remember me!

  6. t • July 18, 2013 @ 10:44 AM

    The victims are the hero’s why not profile them ? Does it bowl down to the almighty dollar?? who would make more for you ….sad sad sad… Why give what they want FRONT COVER or at least show him for the coward he is and the picture of him being arrested No Bravery there I cannot ever buy another copy of the Rolling Stone and live with myself ..SHAME ON YOU!

  7. Barbara Ann • July 18, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

    I do not like what he did, but he sure is attractive

  8. Janie • July 18, 2013 @ 11:29 AM

    The Rolling Stone comment doesn’t even begin to address the real issue. It’s fine to write an article, no one has criticized this, what they didn’t comment on is the fact that they put his face on the cover like a rock star. Unnecessary, inappropriate and in such poor taste. Obviously done to sell mags and make money, soulless.

  9. Andrea • July 18, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

    I don’t mind that they wrote a story about him, it’s interesting to see how he wound up the way he did, but why use put him on the cover and why use that photo so that he looks like a rock star or teen idol? Why not use his mug shot?

  10. Will • July 18, 2013 @ 1:06 PM

    What are u guys gonna do when the movie comes out ?

  11. jim bean • July 18, 2013 @ 1:28 PM

    Musicians work their whole lives to finally make it big and gain “Rockstar status” by gracing the Rolling Stone cover. It’s an insult to all of them to give this terrorist the rockstar treatment. People wonder why these bombings happen and this is why. It should be the victims on the cover.

  12. Ron • July 18, 2013 @ 2:09 PM

    If this was Lohan or another celebrity it would be a drunken mug shot this is glorifying a mass murderer shame on you I hope mag. goes to rock bottom

  13. Checkit • July 18, 2013 @ 2:48 PM

    That has nil to do with music but ya, I think this will be a collectable worth a lot in the future.

  14. Brittney • July 18, 2013 @ 3:12 PM

    it doesnt matter whos on the cover or not. just like it dont matter who bombed what or where. but ya know its really no diffrent then someone killing ppl and on the news or have their own damn books. noone wanted to say anything before when the kids who shot up columbine high and killed more then what he did, they was posted on every mag. had books all over the news but now u wanna say something you should of starting saying something years ago. just like the twin towers the hijackers was posted on just about every cover and all anyone said was they need to die. blah blah blah. every thing happens for a reason its not really affecting ur lifes from someone u dont even know yes its sad but it still wont change anything about whos on the cover or not! why dont people start helping change the world and killings instead of saying this is wrong thats wrong whys this on the cover! IF YOU REALLY CARE TAKE A STEP AND HELP OTHERS CHANGE TO PROTECT OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS AND SELFS! UGH

  15. meesh • July 18, 2013 @ 3:16 PM

    This is horrible. Glorifying a killer.

  16. john • July 18, 2013 @ 3:58 PM


  17. gbh999 • July 18, 2013 @ 6:46 PM

    All terrorists deserve to be treated like bin laden. Especially those who kill innocent civilians here in the USA. Why is this little bitch still alive? He should be shot, pissed on, and burnt for good measure. Let him find his way to his heaven, after that!

  18. Natalie • July 18, 2013 @ 8:44 PM

    This is an insult!!! By putting his face on the cover of a HUGELY popular USA magazine.. You make him a hero in the eyes of his family and their home country!! He is a TERRORIST… not a hero… YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO CALL YOURSELVES AMERICANS!!

  19. Reality • July 18, 2013 @ 9:39 PM

    Just thought I would put this out there. While I don’t condone or agree what Rolling Stone was going to do, I would just like to point out the media have already “glorified” this terrorist from the beginning on the news, magazines and newspapers. Yes, they could have used a different picture but to lay blame basically solely on Rolling Stone magazine for “glorifying” him, well that is not right. Besides, all this backlash from everyone is only making it come to the forefront even more. THAT is “glorifying” it. As for the dangerous message that the criminologist says that they are sending out, that “If they want to become famous, kill somebody.”. Most kids wont see it that way until it gets put into those terms. And for all those that are wanting to kill him, well how does that make you any better than him?? Again, I don’t agree with the picture that they used nor do I condone what this terrorist did. Raise your children properly and you should have no problems. That is just my two cents. I know people will agree with me and people that wont. That’s ok as everyone has a right to their own opinions.

  20. Sam • July 18, 2013 @ 9:54 PM

    While I agree that the editing done on this picture of him creates a very different outlook than the story, have any of you read the article? Controversial cover or no, this is still a person, a very sick and lost person. And while it would have appealed to many to have a victim on the cover rather than the culprit there is still something to knowing this, to getting an inside look at why he made the choices he made. To play devils advocate, I think this article is important. Killers are glorified, its just a fact. Can you name the victims of the twin towers? Or can you remember the person responsible? Before you condemn a magazine for delivering this story and for the cover they chose, remember what you see most in the media from day to day. You don’t see the victims you see the person/persons responsible. Just my two cents

  21. Jackson • July 18, 2013 @ 10:35 PM

    I read it. It’s online, no need to buy the magazine. Just go to their website.

  22. Steve • July 18, 2013 @ 10:43 PM

    @ Reality. I highly doubt his parents are too much to blame, as he lived most of his life in the US while his parents remained in Chechnya. The blame can be firmly placed on the shoulders of the elder brother. This surviving terrorist, was by all accounts a normal guy until his brother returned from an extended trip to an Al Quaida terrorist cell. Blame his parents, blame his brother, blame whatever you chose, but the fact remains, that religious fanaticism played a pivotal role in this. The elder brother never fit in, never liked America, so he joined forces with a very violent anti-American faction. This was not really home grown terrorism, because the seeds of dissent were planted by Al Quaida.

  23. KathyK-inTO • July 20, 2013 @ 4:09 PM

    It is SO GREAT to hear of sensitive, intelligent people & businesses BOYCOTTING Rolling Stone, for SUCH A COLOSSAL BLUNDER.
    I was/am disgusted by the mag’s choice of an Accused Terrorist on their cover.

    * I suspect that many will see only the superficial aspects of the pic & totally miss the “spaced out” look in his eyes.

    The MESSAGE needs to be very clear EVERYWHERE.

  24. dudespeaks • July 21, 2013 @ 10:11 PM

    Lol – I started boycotting that rag when they ratted out General McChrystal’s adjuncts for saying Joe ‘bite-me’ Biden, which resulted in the general’s dismissal.

    They seem to have shot themselves in the foot here.

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