Rolling Stone cover of bombing suspect called 'slap' to Boston

CNN
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 8:08pm

Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's face on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone sparked a backlash against the magazine Wednesday in social media and in boardrooms around the country.

"THE BOMBER," the cover reads. "How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

The photo of a tousle-haired, thinly goateed Tsarnaev is one the suspect posted online himself and has been picked up by other outlets. But a groundswell of criticism objecting to its prominent play emerged on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and among leaders in Boston, where the marathon bombings killed three people, wounded more than 200 and led to a frantic manhunt that left a police officer dead.

Ed Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, called it "insulting." Using Tsarnaev's booking photo might have been one thing, but a photo that shows "the innocence of youth" gives the wrong message, Kelly told CNN.

"He gave up any innocence he had on April 15, when he took the life of an innocent child, two women and then went on to execute a police officer," Kelly said.

"What he did to a city, a country, we're never going to forgive him for it," Kelly said. "We're not going to cower from it. It disturbs us that our media chooses to celebrate it."

Three prominent New England-based businesses -- CVS pharmacies, Stop & Stop, and Tedeschi Food Shops -- heard the public outcry and announced they will not sell that edition, which will be on newsstands soon.

The magazine's Facebook post of the cover image had received more than 16,000 comments by Wednesday evening.

"Oh look, Rolling Stone magazine is glamourizing terrorism. Awesome," Adrienne Graham commented on the magazine's Facebook page. "I will NOT be buying this issue, or any future issues."

Others expressed similar sentiments, and words such as "tasteless," "sickening" and "disgusting" flew around social media.

"What a slap in the face to the great city of Boston and the Marathon Bombing victims," commented Lindsey Williamson.

The cover also brought out comments from the "Free Jahar" movement. (Dzhokhar is also spelled Jahar or Djahar.)

"#BoycottRollingStone calling Djahar a monster and stirring the pot even more shame on you! Innocent until PROVEN guilty," tweeted @Jahars_Tsarnaev.

Authorities accuse Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan of setting off a pair of bombs just seconds apart near the finish line of the packed Boston Marathon course on Boylston Street on April 15. Tamerlan was killed during the police pursuit three nights later; Dzhokhar was captured and charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the attack. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last week.
 

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