Rolling Stone is defending its controversial decision to put Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its latest issue as retailers vow to boycott it.
"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 magazine's editors wrote in a statement Wednesday. "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."
When the cover image was first posted on Rolling Stone's Facebook page Tuesday, commenters took to social media to question whether Tsarnaev's cover treatment was glamorizing terrorism. The backlash grew as pharmacy and grocery chains including Walgreens, CVS and Tedeschi Foods vowed to remove the issue, out Friday, from their shelves.
The Rhode Island-based CVS released a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday, explaining, "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 controversial cover features a photo of Tsarnaev's face with the headline "The Bomber" and promised a story that will look at ""how a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster." Though the image has appeared in other publications, critics point out that Rolling Stone's covers are usually the terrain of celebrity musicians and actors.
Rolling Stone posted the full-length cover story along with its statement defending the cover.