The backlash to the Rolling Stone cover featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ("The Bomber") is hurting the magazine's bottom line.
Rolling Stone Magazine caused an uproar when they released their next cover, which showed Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a typical rock star shot that usually grace the covers of Rolling Stone in the form of Bob Dylan, Johnny Depp and the like. Now, the upset is costing Rolling Stone business. A number of chain stores will not be stocking the most recent issue of Rolling Stone, due to the controversy.
CVS, based in neighboring Rhode Island will not show glam Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on their magazine racks:
“CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” said CVS in a statement. “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.”
That’s the hard part for Rolling Stone in all of this: not that the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cover humanizes the bomber too much, but that it doesn’t show respect for the victims.
Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Stop & Shop are other chains that have national reach which will not stock the Rolling Stone “the Bomber” cover. Local chains the Roche Bros and Tedeschi Food Shops, are following suit.
Rolling Stone made a business decision that they would sell magazines with a striking cover of the kid who is widely assumed to have killed three and injured around 100 with his brother at the Boston Marathon. They are in the business of making people look good with the photos they take, select, and how they touch them up. CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and the rest are also making a business decision by not stocking the magazine. It’s not worth the small hit in sales if even one customer complains (and we can assume that Rolling Stone will be back on their shelves by the next issue).
All in all, it wasn’t worth it for Rolling Stone. They nearly pulled off what they were going for, but they crossed the line and got burned. The controversy will help them sell magazines, but it is also costing them more than they anticipated. It’s not always good how stuff like this just comes down to a business decision, but in this case, it basically worked out: Rolling Stone was too offensive, and it cost them.