News / USA

Thousands Condemn 'Rolling Stone' Boston Bomber Cover

VOA News
U.S.-based magazine Rolling Stone is under fire for using a picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its upcoming issue.

In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of "Rolling Stone."In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of "Rolling Stone."
In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of "Rolling Stone."
In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of "Rolling Stone."
The photo, unveiled by the magazine Wednesday, depicts a youthful Tsarnaev with soft eyes and long, flowing curly hair. The magazine chose the photo to promote its in-depth story on Tsarnaev's life leading up to the April 15 attacks. But it was instantly compared to similar portraits of legendary rock stars Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, prompting accusations that Rolling Stone was glamorizing terrorism.

Thousands of people went on Facebook and Twitter to condemn the magazine, with many vowing to never buy another issue. A handful of retailers, including two national drug chain stores, have refused to sell the issue.

In a letter to publisher Jann Wenner, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said the survivors of the attack were more deserving of a cover than Tsarnaev, but added "I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."

The magazine issued a statement late Wednesday defending its decision to use the photo, saying it falls within commitment to "serious and thoughtful coverage" of the world's biggest "political and cultural issues of the day."

The issue officially goes on sale Friday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan are accused of plotting the attack on the famous race that killed three people dead and left more than 260 others wounded, many of them losing legs and other limbs from the shrapnel caused by the homemade bombs. The younger Tsarnaev was wounded in a shootout with police that left Tamerlan dead, and was captured a day later.

The pair are also accused in the shooting death of a police officer with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology .

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Tab from: London
July 20, 2013 7:29 AM
Immediately when I first saw this I had the same reaction as everyone else and I thought 'how horrible'. Then I thought about what it demonstrates about how society view aesthetics, and how they transcend morality. I haven't read the article, and don't know what it says specifically; this point may not have been why the magazine published this cover. But it is interesting; it has really made me think. For example, look at how people use Che Guevara's face on t-shirts and posters etc, seeing him as a 'revolutionary' not a 'terrorist', despite his crimes against humanity. But he has a romanticized appearance, so its okay with him! Funny no one has t-shirts with Fidel Castro on them...

by: Hunter Edwards from: Courtenay, BC
July 20, 2013 5:49 AM
The reaction to this cover is further proof that people willingly choose not to see reason. Ever. This cover isn't saying "Look at how beautiful terrorists are", it's saying "Is this what you envision as a terrorist? Throw your stereotypes out the window."

by: Andrea Belial from: Miami
July 19, 2013 11:42 PM
I admire this magazine for doing this, thank you. I hope to find one of their magazines since people are being so close minded and taking them out of the shelves, what a shame. I will def be buying them more often.

by: P. R. from: Venice, California
July 19, 2013 10:22 PM
This cover definitely glorifies terrorism. It is insensitive to all families who have lost loved ones due to terrorist acts. While in the short run this cover is huge publicity for Rolling Stone magazine, in the long run it is a ridiculously stupid act. I will never buy this magazine again. I will never buy an ad in this magazine. And I will complain to any store owners who carry it.

by: MM from: FLORIDA
July 19, 2013 3:07 PM
I've been buying rolling stone for years, this has made a huge impact on how I feel about this magazine. There was no reason whatsoever to put dzhokhar tsarnaev face on the front cover. As an artist is a disgrace to put names like "Willie Nelson" "Jay Z" "Robin Thicke" amazing artist (American) that have been put in the same page with this inhuman. You should be ashamed, a lack of respect, a lack of education. I will never again after 9 years will buy this magazine again.

by: Karen Wheeler from: Vernon, B.C.
July 19, 2013 2:59 PM

by: Anonymous
July 19, 2013 2:35 PM
I could take this article more seriously if it was proofread. There are several grammatical mistakes.

by: Marie from: Boston
July 19, 2013 2:33 PM
My problem with this cover is the text, not the photo. By proclaiming "BOMBER," under his picture, it flies in the face of our justice system, which affords all of us accused of a crime the presumption of innocence.
Note that I think it's highly likely the evidence will prove he's guilty. But he hasn't had a trial yet, so to declare him the bomber without his guilt having been proven in a court of law makes a mockery of our system.
We have to stop trying people in the press.

by: jinspin from: NJ
July 19, 2013 1:54 PM
I read the article. Rolling Stone wanted to be edgy and they thought it was cool that pic looked like Jim Morrison since you know they are like magazine about iconic rock stars. But they went too far. The article romanticizes terrorist Jahar and is just as DISGUSTING as the Teen Beat cover. Beautiful, soulful eyes - R U Kidding me? Who says this about cold blooded remorseless killer??? Brothers were lazy potsmokers who never had real jobs and Americans paid for their welfare and this dirtbag Jahar even got scholarship to go to college. Jahar wasted his college by smoking pot and he was failing classes.

They blame financial problems on parents who left for Russia and "boring" college. The article was more about blaming society and everyone else to humanize Jahar as the poor soul victim. Even though he killed maimed 250+ Americans and partied and prob smoked pot after bombing. It was SICK OFFENSIVE COVER and ARTICLE and Rolling Stone just trying to be edgy and sell magazine. Too bad the author and editors did not lose any family members to the bombings to see how disgusting and hurtful to victims this had caused. Oh yeah that Manson cover was 20 years ago and at least the editor at that time had decency not to use Manson picture that looked like Teen Beat or teen rock star. Mugshot would have shown this is what happens when you KILL PEOPLE! IDIOT EDITORS! Irresponsible abuse of JOURNALISM

by: Jan from: Ontario
July 19, 2013 1:12 PM
As a magazine you show poor taste in glamorizing what he did...glorifying murder...and equating him with similar status to R&R greats. He does not deserve front page status. By all means, write your story on him, but do not glamorize what he did by making him look like a rock's almost saying the deplorable cowardice of what he did was super cool.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs