Rolling Stone Cover Controversy

Remember the Rolling Stone cover with a nude John Lennon spooning Yoko Ono? How about the one with topless Janet Jackson and male hands covering her breasts? Needless to say, the magazine is no stranger to controversy. The August 2013 cover featuring Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Rolling Stone Magazine is defending the issue and the cover. The editors issued a statement regarding the matter. “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,” they said.

Although the intentions seem honorable, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is not buying that explanation. He wrote to publisher Jann Wenner to express his displeasure with the publication. He said that cover supports the “terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their causes”. He also said the cover was “ill-conceived, at best”.

People have taken to social media and are not holding anything back! Adrienne Graham commented on the magazine’s page, “Oh look, Rolling Stone is glamourizing terrorism. Awesome. I will NOT be buying this issue, or any future issues.”

It didn’t stop there. Lindsey Williamson commented, “What a slap in the face to a great city of Boston and the Marathon Bombing victims.”

According to, the mayor is not the only one who feels that way. CVS pharmacy, Cumberland Farms convenience stores, Roche Brothers groceries and other retailers have decided not to carry this issue, on sale Friday.

The backlash the magazine is getting is similar to that of the June 1970 cover which featured mass murderer, Charles Manson. The article featured an interview with Mason. It won a National magazine award and became one of Rolling Stone’s biggest selling issues.

“The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them,” Menino said.



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