BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) – Rolling Stone's August issue featuring a glamorous cover photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has prompted several local retailers to take action.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Rolling Stone issue set to hit stands Friday; however, multiple retailers, including Tedeschi Food Shops, Walgreens, CVS, Shaw's, Cumberland Farms, and Roche Bros., have already stated they will not be selling the controversial issue.
Rolling Stone editors said in a statement that the story falls within the traditions of journalism and the magazine's commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage.
"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.
The cover photo , a "selfie" of bomber number two, looks more like one of the rock stars that usually grace it than a suspect in the April 15 bombings at the marathon finish line that killed three and wounded more than 260.
A preview on the magazine's website says the story by contributing editor Janet Reitman traces how "a bright kid with a charming future became a monster."
The cover was ill-conceived at best and reaffirms a message that destruction gains fame for killers, Boston Mayor Tom Menino wrote in a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.
"Among those we lost, those who survived, and those who help carry them forward, there are artists and musicians and dancers and writers. They have dreams and plans," he wrote. "They struggle and strive. The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, although I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."
Gov. Deval Patrick also expressed his outrage saying the cover was not in good taste.
Peter Brown, whose nephews Paul and J.P. Norden each lost a leg in the blasts, commented on the issue saying he was surprised and disgusted and will not buy the issue.
"I thought it was irresponsible of Rolling Stone to put that picture on the cover of that magazine…I don't think he's a victim. I think he's a product of his own beliefs and ideals," Brown told FOX 25's Crystal Haynes.
MBTA Transit Officer Richard Donohue who nearly died trying to apprehend the Tsarnaev brothers said in a statement he thought the cover was "thoughtless at best."
As controversy surrounding the issue mounted, customers called on retailers across Boston and the county to pull the issue.
Peter Tedeschi, President and CEO of Tedeschi's, said the decision to pull the issue is "not about censorship, it's about fellowship." The move is personal.
"We had a store at 717 Boylston St., right between the two blasts. We had employees that saw what happened. We have a lot of our customers that were adversely affected, very traumatically, by this event. We just don't think it makes a lot of sense. We don't think it is right," Tedeschi said.
Perhaps in the minority, Martin's News Shops with 15 locations in Boston and 12 in New York said it wasn't their place to "censor what the public has access to."
One of the marathon runners, Lauren Gabler, who works in IT consulting in Washington and was running her fourth Boston Marathon this year, said she at first thought the Rolling Stone photo was of a model or rock star and was surprised when she realized it was Tsarnaev.
"The cover almost tricks you into what you're looking at," she said.
She had finished the race well ahead of when the bombs went off hours into the race, but was two blocks away headed to brunch when she heard and felt the explosions. She was not hurt.
"I haven't read the article yet, and I know it will probably be quite in-depth, but my initial reaction is that the photo that's being used almost makes him look like a good guy," she said. "That's the story line, but I think the public will have trouble, like me, making the association between here's the Boston bomber and here's the guy who appears to be cool on the cover of Rolling Stone."
On social media, people have threatened to cancel their Rolling Stone subscriptions and have launched a "Boycott Rolling Stone" Facebook page, which had more than 60,000 likes by Wednesday afternoon.
The New York Daily News is reporting that one of the senior editors of Rolling Stone responded to the backlash with a flip comment about how they should have depicted him, then quickly deleted the Tweet, but images of it are still floating around online and many are upset. Other editors there are Tweeting for people disturbed by the cover to read the actual report before passing judgment.
The issue has not yet hit stands; however, an editor from Rolling Stone tweeted a link to the full article Wednesday evening asking readers to decide about the issue after having read the full story.
FULL ARTICLE: Rolling Stone article on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty in the bombings.
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