Rolling Stone has come under fire for their most recent cover, which features the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The photo, a shot Tsarnaev took of himself, has drawn comparisons to previous covers featuring teen idols, leading some to believe that the magazine is glorifying the suspected terrorist.
Hours after the cover was revealed on Tuesday night (July 16), a Facebook group called “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine For Their Latest Cover” was created, which at press time, was at 166,000 Likes. CVS, along with New England-based Tedeschi Food Shops, announced they will not sell the issue in stores. By Wednesday, other stores including Walgreens, Cumberland Farms and Stop & Shop announced that they will not be selling the issue, either.
Others, however, were quick to point out that the story was written by Janet Reitman, a well-respected investigative journalist who spent two months researching Tsarnaev’s story, and that the photo Rolling Stone used was featured in stories published by other publications, including the front page of The New York Times.
On their website, the editors of the Rolling Stone wrote a brief note to readers which defends their story on Tsarnaev:
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 EDITORS
A former Art Director at the magazine wondered if people would be as upset about the cover if the logo didn’t cover the young man’s head, citing the mag’s Charles Manson cover from the ’70s, which featured the logo far off in the corner, away from Manson himself. “This meant critical distance was maintained,” he wrote. “There was no endorsement, and no outrage (not that I can remember!)”
But no matter your opinion about this controversy, most would agree gracing the cover of Rolling Stone is a huge honor for any musician (or celebrity, for that matter). With that in mind, Radio.com came up with a list of five different covers the magazine could have used instead.
Disney Girls Gone Bad: Miley, Demi & Selena
Shot by Terry Richardson, the three former Disney stars–Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez–show off their new devil-may-care attitudes in a cover story about life following breakout roles on sanitized TV network. All three of these ladies have been making headlines for their career makeovers: Selena took a role in the Harmony Korine film Spring Breakers, showing she is no longer the adorable wizard of Waverly Place; Miley cut off her hair and, uh, learned to TWERK; and Demi is using her previous personal struggles to inspire others and show she’s more than just your average pop starlet. None of them would necessarily be able to earn the cover of the male-leaning rock mag on their own, and they all have new albums coming out or recently released. Together, they form a bigger story about how tween stardom doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be a has-been by the time you turn 21. These three ladies represent a new breed of smarter child stars, who know reinvention is the key to staying relevant after Disney. RS contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis could write the hell out of this story.