Rolling Stone‘s latest issue is causing a lot of controversy — featured on the cover of the August issue is a close-up photo of the alleged Boston bombing suspect, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev. While the magazine hits newsstands on Friday (July 19), some places won’t be selling it at all.
On Wednesday (July 17), CVS announced that its stores will not sell or promote the Tsarnaev cover. In a statement from the company, representatives said they couldn’t support Rolling Stone. “CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” the statement said. “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 cover photo sparked controversy and a brutal social media backlash when a preview debuted Tuesday (July 16) because many thought it was extremely similar to a photo spread of Jim Morrison and made Tsarnaev out to look like a rock star.
Rolling Stone responded publicly to criticism over the cover photo and reports of boycotts later on Wednesday (July 17). “The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s longstanding commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage,” the publication said in a statement. “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 cover story — of which the photo is an instagrammed selfie of Tsarnaev — is a “riveting account” of the suspect’s life in Cambridge and Boston. According to the magazine’s editorial staff, the cover is meant to highlight a “deeply reported account of the life and times of Boston bomber Jahar Tsarnaev,” with two months worth of detailed reporting and commentary from the suspect’s childhood friends and former classmates, as well as teachers, neighbors, and law enforcement agents.