‘Rolling Stone’ August Bomber Issue a Hit

By Alana Abramson

Aug 1, 2013 12:43pm

The controversial August issue of “Rolling Stone” magazine featuring accused Boston bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev has performed extremely well amid boycotts and petitions against the publication.

According to data from the Magazine Information Network, the magazine sold 13,232 copies, a 145 percent increase from last year’s August issue.

The Rolling stone cover with the Boston bomber suspect “is doing very well compared to previous issues,” Ray Shaw, senior vice president for the Magazine Information Network, wrote in an e-mail to ABC News.

The cover featured Tsarnaev with the caption “THE BOMBER,” was a prelude to an article by Janet Reitman that investigated the 19-year-old’s past, speaking with his former wrestling coach, classmates and friends.

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Rolling Stone

The photo gained controversy upon its release because many people thought it glorified terrorism. CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid announced on Twitter they would pull the issues from their shelves. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to the magazine’s publisher calling it ill-conceived and claiming it rewarded Tsarnaev by granting him celebrity status. A Facebook group was also created in support of the boycott, garnering 170,000 likes.

The boycott is reflected in the data; the figures released from the Magazine Information Network shows that issue was sold in 1,420 stores. By comparison, the July issue sold in 4,159 stores.

In the aftermath of the release, a Change.org petition sprung up, challenging the magazine to donate all profits to the victims of the Boston marathon bombings.

As of August 1, the petition had 52,359 supporters. Rolling Stone did not return calls for comment, so it is unclear if the magazine will comply with the challenge.

“There is no justification for awarding him a cover spot traditionally reserved for entertainment icons,” the petition claims. “We challenge Rolling Stone Magazine to donate ALL profits (retail and advertising revenue) generated from the August issue to all the victims, surviving family members, and first responders adversely affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.”

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