Rolling Stone accused of making Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ‘look like rock star’ on front cover


An issue of Rolling Stone magazine published today featuring an article on Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has sparked controversy, with critics saying the cover photo glamourises an accused killer and some retailers saying they will not carry the issue.

The photo of Tsarnaev looks more like a young Jim Morrison than the 19-year-old who pleaded not guilty last week, looking casual despite having a swollen face and his arm in a cast. The same image of Tsarnaev was widely circulated before, but the music magazine is being criticised for turning it into something more appealing – and making him look like a rock star.

“I can’t think of another instance in which one has glamourised the image of an alleged terrorist. This is the image of a rock star. This is the image of someone who is admired, of someone who has a fan base, of someone we are critiquing as art,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Public outrage was swift, including tough words from the Boston mayor and bombing survivors. At least five retailers with New England ties said they would not sell the issue. A Rolling Stone statement offered condolences to bombing survivors and the loved ones of the dead. Three people were killed in the bombing, and dozens wounded.