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The August issue of Rolling Stone magazine features the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Photo by: Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone’s cover featuring 'The Bomber' Dzhokar Tsarnaev stirs controversy

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The August issue of Rolling Stone magazine features the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Photo by: Rolling Stone

For its August issue, Rolling Stone features a self-taken picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev along with the words “The Bomber” in bold. The decision to prominently feature the suspected criminal has sparked massive controversy.

Last week, Dzhokar Tsarnaev pled not guilty to charges that associated him with the bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15. The attacks claimed the lives of three people, and injured over 250 others. 

The Rolling Stone article, which teases at a “riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster,” was put together by contributing editor Janet Reitman. For the piece, Reitman cites two months worth of interviews with Tsarnaev’s family and friends, as well as law enforcement officials.

The article promises to include several “revelations” about Tsarnaev, including that Dzhokar may have been lured out of hiding in a Watertown boat after police told him of a public plea from his former coach to do so. It also sheds light on Dzhokar’s dysfunction family life preceding the attacks, as well as his relationship with his religion.

Though the article is apparently well-researched, Rolling Stone is being slammed on several social media platforms, including their own website, for putting Tsarnaev in the spotlight that is so often enjoyed by rock stars and celebrities.

The comments section on the preview of the article on RollingStone.com has already ammassed over 1600 comments, many of which slam Rolling Stone’s decision to put Tsarnaev on its cover. Many commenters noted how they will discontinue their subscriptions to the magazine.

On Rolling Stone’s Facebook page, nearly 13,000 people have commented under the announcement of the August issue which highlights Tsarnaev. While some are highly critical of the decision to put the suspect on the cover, others want to know why first-responders or those who were injured were not given the spotlight.

Even further, Tsarnaev has yet to be proven guilty, which has angered the small number of ‘Free Jahar’ groups have sprung up ever since the 19-year-old was accused of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Boston Magazine reported on July 17 that Tedeschi’s food stores and CVS stores will not be carrying the instantly controversial issue of Rolling Stone. 

In a statement on their Facebook page, Tedeschi stores said, “Tedeschi Food Shops supports the need to share the news with everyone, but cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone. With that being said, we will not be carrying this issue of Rolling Stone. Music and terrorism don’t mix.”

Similarly, CVS said, “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.”

The magazine is set to go on sale August 3.

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