Controversy Erupts Over Rolling Stone Cover

Posted at: 07/18/2013 9:57 PM
Updated at: 07/18/2013 10:13 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- It's a space usually reserved for rockstars and celebrities. But tomorrow a terrorism suspect will grace the cover of Rolling Stone.

Across the nation, people are upset at Rolling Stone's decision to put Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev on its cover, and now some major retailers are expressing their displeasure as well.

The issue is set to hit newsstands tomorrow, but already people are speaking out against the magazine’s decision.

“I couldn't believe it,” said Robert Sappington, an avid runner from Byron. “I was dismayed. It's like, 'Are you kidding me?' This guy doesn't deserve any kind of recognition at all."

Many who saw the image on the magazine's website lashed out on social media, calling the cover “insensitive” and “disgusting.”

The article itself describes Tsarnaev as a monster, and earlier this week the magazine defended itself saying, "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 the day."

But still some say the magazine has some ulterior motives for putting the suspected terrorist on the cover.

“They did it probably for sales,” Sappington said. “That's the only thing I can think. I have no other idea why they'd do it."

Sales might be hard to come by though as CVS and Walgreens recently announced they would not sell it, and Hy-Vee has asked their stores not to stock the magazine as well.

Amid the controversy, a new photo emerged this week, allegedly showing a bloody Tsarnaev emerging from a boat as he was captured.

The photo was released by a Boston police officer who was infuriated over Rolling Stone's cover. He says the photo shows the real Tsarnaev.

It's an image in stark contrast to the one featured on Rolling Stone's cover, and for those close to the victims, it's one perhaps more fitting.

“Why not a picture of him in an orange jumpsuit?” said Peter Brown, the uncle of Paul and JP Norden who each lost a leg in the bombing. “Why not an article about the victims and how people were destroyed that day?"

This isn't the first time Rolling Stone has put a suspected criminal on its cover.

In 1970, the magazine featured Charles Manson as part of its award-winning jailhouse interview.