What does Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have in common with Rihanna, Justin Bieber, John Lennon and B.B. King? He will appear on the cover of the August issue of Rolling Stone.
On newsstands Friday, the issue features Tsarnaev leaning against a wall and staring blankly at the camera. Below his image is the headline “The Bomber.” The subheading reads, “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."
Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin told MyFoxBoston.com that the cover sends the wrong message to Americans.
"If they want to become famous – kill somebody," Levin said of the message.
“Boycott Rolling Stone” immediately began trending on Twitter. Critics want to know why the magazine would glamorize a suspected terrorist as they would a rock star.
“I think it’s wrong to make celebrities out of these people,” one person wrote on Rolling Stone’s Facebook page. “Why give the guy the cover of Rolling Stone? TIME gave Charles Manson the cover and all the magazines carried pictures of the Columbine shooters on the covers, too. Don’t make martyrs out of these people.”
“Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine and all their advertisers. No reason to legitimize a mass murderer,” tweeted @VinnyEgizi.
A Facebook page called “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine for their latest cover” already has more than 21,000 likes.
So why feature Tsarnaev now? Does this have anything to do with the thousands of teen girls who developed crushes on him?
In a blog entry, Rolling Stone claims there are revelations made in the feature, namely something about Dzhokar’s mother thinking Islam would solve his older brother Tamerlan’s mental problems. Contributing editor Janet Reitman, who wrote the article, says she spent two months talking with “childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents.”
Charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, Tsarnaev, who turns 20 years old on Monday, made his first federal court appearance on July 10. He pleaded not guilty to 30 counts associated with the April 15 bombing that killed 3 people and injured 264.