Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's face on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone sparked a backlash against the magazine in social media and in boardrooms around the country.
"THE BOMBER," the cover reads. "How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."
The photo of a tousle-haired, thinly goateed Tsarnaev is one the suspect posted online himself and has been picked up by other outlets.
A groundswell of criticism objecting to its placement on Rolling Stone's cover emerged Wednesday on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and among leaders in Boston, where the marathon bombings killed three people, wounded more than 200 and led to a frantic manhunt that left a police officer dead.
But some people defended the magazine's decision, saying it draws attention to the story of a young man who seemed an unlikely terrorist.
Ed Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, called it "insulting." Using Tsarnaev's booking photo might have been one thing, but a photo that shows "the innocence of youth" gives the wrong message, Kelly told CNN.
"He gave up any innocence he had on April 15, when he took the life of an innocent child, two women and then went on to execute a police officer," Kelly said.
"What he did to a city, a country, we're never going to forgive him for it," Kelly said. "We're not going to cower from it. It disturbs us that our media chooses to celebrate it."
Three prominent New England-based businesses -- CVS pharmacies, Stop & Stop, and Tedeschi Food Shops -- heard the public outcry and announced they will not sell that edition, which will be on newsstands soon.
"Music and terrorism don't mix!" the Tedeschi firm said on its Facebook page, which carries the cover image with a circle and a line crossed through it. One Facebook commenter said, "I'm done with Rolling Stone."
The 7-Eleven corporation said Thursday its nearly 1,700 company stores across the country won't sell the issue, and the corporation is encouraging its 5,900 franchise stores to follow suit, according to 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris. She said the convenience story chain will likely resume carrying Rolling Stone after the issue with Tsarnaev on the cover but "that hasn't been decided yet."
The Illinois-based drugstore chain Walgreens and Rite Aid, based in Pennsylvania, said they won't carry the issue, either.
And in a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino urged the magazine to follow up with stories "on the brave and strong survivors" of the attacks and the doctors, nurses, friends and volunteers who helped them.
"The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them," Menino wrote.
Rolling Stone, critic defend cover
In a statement, the magazine said its thoughts were "always with" the bombing victims and their families.
"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," it said. "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."
While primarily a music magazine, the journal also has forged a reputation for hard-hitting pieces on national affairs, politics and popular culture. For example, journalist Michael Hastings wrote a 2010 profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to the officer's abrupt retirement. In his profile, Hastings quoted McChrystal and his staff criticizing and mocking key administration officials.
Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple said Rolling Stone should be out defending its article, because it's "a pretty easy thing to defend."
"What you have here is a story about a guy who was very integrated and well-balanced, by all accounts, member of our society until something happened," Wemple said. "We don't know precisely what happened and that was the whole point of this Rolling Stone story -- to account for how he slid off the rails."