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ROCKLAND, Mass. -- In the 1973 song "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show allude to getting their minds blown when their picture appears on the iconic magazine's cover. Today, readers minds were blown once again when they learned that one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appears on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone issue.
Rolling Stone's photo choice set off a firestorm of comments across social media channels and led two convenience store retailers, Tedeschi Food Shops Inc. and Cumberland Farms, to ban sales of the issue that hits newsstands on Friday.
The cover photo features a floppy-haired, staring Tsarnaev, which led many on social media to compare the cover to the 1991 Rolling Stone cover that featured the late Doors singer Jim Morrison. The photo's cover line states, "The Bomber -- How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."
Tsarnaev posted the image of himself on social media and it has been previously circulated by media outlets.
On its Facebook page, the Rockland Mass.-based c-store operator wrote, "Tedeschi Food Shops supports the need to share the news with everyone, but cannot support actions that serve to glorify the evil actions of anyone. With that being said, we will not be carrying this issue of Rolling Stone. Music and terrorism don't mix!"
The convenience store chain also posted the image of the Rolling Stone cover with a banned symbol over Tsarnaev's face. As of press time, Tesdeschi's message garnered more than 3,200 "likes" and nearly 4,000 shares, and elicited hundreds of comments from subscribers.
One subscriber, Anthony, wrote, "Good business decision. A local company from the Commonwealth making sure no one walks into one other market and has to look at that misery. You guys will get a ton of loyal patrons for this."
While the vast majority of comments were in support of Tedeschi's stance, some subscribers voiced an alternate opinion, creating a lively exchange between one commenter and the c-store chain.
"Honestly this is one of the most ignorant FB [facebook] posts to date. Read the story and you'll probably notice it is not a glorification!" said one Facebook follower named Nicole, who defended the magazine's choice to depict the subject of their news story. She accused Tedeschi of being too sensitive.
Tedeschi issued the following statement in direct response to Nicole’s post:
“We respect your opinion and hope that you can respect ours. We have made a personal choice and know that not all other retailers will follow suit. The issue will be available for purchase elsewhere and people will be able to read the story. In our eyes, we believe that the issue should be glorifying the victims who lost their lives that day and not the terrorist. Again, this is just our opinion and hopefully you can respect it."
Tedeschi Food Shops operates 191 convenience stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
More Retailers Follow Suit
Today, Cumberland Farms also responded to customers calling for the ban of the Rolling Stone issue with the following statement: "Thanks for taking the time to share your concern. Cumberland Farms stores were instructed to remove the issue of Rolling Stone from all locations this morning."
Framingham, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms operates approximately 600 convenience stores across 11 states.
Customers also lauded the decision of CVS, which wrote on its Facebook wall, "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."
While the company's decision was praised as "excellent" and a "powerful message to the rest of the retailers," it was also met with concerns and criticism.
Multiple media outlets reported that Roche Bros., a Massachusetts grocer, is also banning the sale of the magazine.
According to the Rolling Stone website, the article written by Contributing Editor Janet Reitman "delivers a deeply reported account of the life and times of Boston bomber Jahar Tsarnaev."
Today, the magazine stood by its story and its controversial cover photo.
"The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone's longstanding commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage," the Rolling Stone Magazine's publisher wrote in a statement, according to TMZ. "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."
The incidents surrounding the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing left four dead and 264 injured. The 19-year-old Tsarnaev has accused his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, of being the mastermind of the plot. The elder Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police on April 19.