The response to the magazine’s controversial cover has varied greatly across media and consumer outlets. Retail chains CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, 7-11, and numerous local businesses have banned the magazine from their stores. CVS said in a statement,
CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. 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.
The mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, wrote a letter to Rolling Stone stating that the cover ‘rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment’ and called it a ‘marketing strategy.’
Kathryn Townsend, a Boston resident and friend of bombing victim Jeffrey Baumann, told Rolling Stone,
Your use of a provocative, borderline sympathetic image and headline of someone who has caused so much pain to our country is appalling, insensitive, and disgusting. This person does not deserve to have his name mentioned publicly, let alone be featured on the cover of a magazine,” Townsend wrote. She also suggested that the net proceeds of the issue be given to the One Fund.
Yet reports are showing that sales of the issue in question are more than double the monthly average of the past year. While many have spoken out against the cover, many others have come to its defense, both questioning the basis for the boycott and arguing the cover and article’s importance.
In an article for Slate, Mark Joseph Stern reminds us that there was no mention of the glorification of terrorism when the New York Times published the exact same picture on their front page on 5 May. Stern also questions the comparative lack of outrage when ‘Time magazine profiled the Columbine shooters through a similar lens, calling them “the monsters next door” on their cover and asking, “What made them do it?”’
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