Retailers Boycott Rolling Stone After Controversial Magazine Cover

Rolling Stone magazine is feeling the heat after unveiling the cover of its August issue featuring Boston bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

According to Time magazine, Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to the mag’s publisher Jann Wenner, stating that the magazine cover “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment, it is ill-conceived, at best, and reaffirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their ‘causes.’”

Soon after, major retailers vowed not to sell the issue. Drugstore chain CVS was the first to announce it would not be putting the mag on their stands.

“CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” the store said on its Facebook. “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.”

Tedeschi Foods, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, 7-11, and Kmart were quick to follow. “Music and terrorism don’t mix,” read a message on Tedeschi Food Shops’ Facebook. “[The company] cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone.”

But Rolling Stone didn’t bow down so lightly. The magazine released the following statement, defending its brand and contributing writer Janet Reitman, who spent two months interviewing dozens of sources for the cover story.

“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.”

The issue hits news stands (willing to sell it) Friday (July 19).—Andrew Asare