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Rolling Stone's controversial choice to feature Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its latest cover sparked a firestorm of criticism across social media channels and major media outlets, which has since prompted multiple grocery and convenience store retailers to ban sales of the magazine that hits newsstands on Friday, July 19.
New England-based retailers, including Stop & Shop, Roche Bros. and BJ’s Wholesale Club, are refusing to carry the magazine, while many other retailers nationwide are following suit.
A roundup of statements by various retailers appears below:
“We have had a number of inquiries today regarding our approach to the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine. When our team learned about the cover image this morning, we chose not to offer that product for sale in our stores. We join with our customers and neighbors in focusing on the recovery of the victims and our community. Thank you.”
Stop & Shop
“[We] felt the coverage was inappropriate and our customers felt the coverage was inappropriate, so the August issue of Rolling Stone will not be for sale in our stores.”
“Shaw’s has been part of the New England and Boston communities for over 150 years and we understand on a personal level how profoundly the tragedy surrounding the Boston Marathon has affected our associates and customers. Out of respect for the survivors, those who lost their lives and all of their families and friends, we have made the decision to not sell the August issue of Rolling Stone.”
BJ’s Wholesale Club
“BJ’s Wholesale Club does not have the current issue of Rolling Stone in any of our clubs. In addition, we will not be carrying Rolling Stone magazine for the foreseeable future.”
According to Boston’s WCVB television station, Walmart says the store will not sell the August issue of the magazine in all New England states, with the exception of Connecticut, and that Wegmans is not carrying the issue, either.
Other grocers from around the country that are backing the ban on the magazine include Lubbock, Texas-based United Supermarkets and W. Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, whose statements appear as follows:
“Hy-Vee has received many questions and complaints from customers regarding the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which features a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. In general, the decision whether or not to carry a particular publication rests with each individual store; however, in response to feedback from our customers, we have asked all our stores to refrain from displaying or selling the issue of Rolling Stone in question.”
“United Supermarkets, LLC…will not sell the controversial August issue of Rolling Stone magazine in any of its stores….This was an easy business decision for us,” said Robert Taylor, CEO of United Supermarkets, LLC. “To do anything that would glorify terrorist behavior simply goes against what our company stands for.”
Taylor added that Rolling Stone is only available at a limited number of United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and United Express locations.
In a statement on its website, Rolling Stone editors said its choice of cover subjects and companion story falls within the magazine's commitment to traditions of serious and thoughtful journalism.
"Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them 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. 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."