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Riesbeck’s joins in ‘Stone’ protest

July 21, 2013
By MIKE HUGHES - Times Leader News Editor With AP dispatches , Times Leader

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - If you're in the market for the August issue of Rolling Stone, you're not going to find it at your local Riesbeck's Food Market.

Riesbeck's announced its stores are joining in the boycott of the controversial issue of Rolling Stone by not stocking it on their shelves.

Rolling Stone's latest edition hit stores Friday, but the grumblings about the started nearly instantaneously once the company posted its cover image Tuesday on its Facebook page.

That's because the feature photo was a close-up of Boston Marathon bombing suspect with the headline "The Bomber" written below it.

"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 editors of the magazine explained through a written statement released Wednesday. "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."

The backlash was immediate as Rolling Stone readers and the general public began weighing in their displeasure about the cover choice.

Soon corporate America followed as pharmacy and grocery store chains like Walgreens, CVS and Tedeschi Foods announced they would remove the issue from their shelves.

Count Riesbeck's among that growing list.

"A few of our larger stores do carry a few monthly issues of Rolling Stone magazine, St. Clairsville being one that does" said L. Diane Lamb, Corporate Support Director and Recording Secretary at Riesbeck's via an email correspondence with a concerned local patron. "Rest assured that the particular issue of Rolling Stone magazine you mentioned will not be displayed at any of our stores."

Katherine Ball was just one of many local residents who phoned or contacted Riesbeck's corporate office in St. Clairsville, inquiring as to the issue's status in the Riesbeck's stores.

"This is noteworthy because Riesbeck's, as a community store reflecting the values of our Ohio Valley community, shares the feelings that this issue is beyond outrageous and inappropriate.

"I want to thank them for taking a stand for the values of the Ohio Valley."

Public outrage was swift, including hard words from the Boston mayor, bombing survivors and the governor of Massachusetts. At least five retailers with strong New England ties said they would not sell the issue that features an in-depth look into how a charming, well-liked teen took a dark turn toward radical Islam. Stop & Shop and Walgreens followed suit.

Tsarnaev is not referred to as Tsarnaev in the article.

The magazine uses his playful diminutive instead in a headline: "Jahar's World." With cover teasers for other stories on Willie Nelson, Jay-Z and Robin Thicke, it declares for the Tsarnaev story: "The Bomber. How a Popular, Promising Student was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster."

Rolling Stone did not address whether the photo was edited or filtered in any way in a brief statement offering condolences to bombing survivors and the loved ones of the dead.

"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," the statement said.

That's little consolation for James "Bim" Costello, 30, of Malden, Mass., who needed pig skin grafts on most of his right arm and right leg after the bombing. His body was pebbled with shrapnel, including nails he pulled out of his stomach himself. Three of his close friends lost legs that day and others suffered serious burns and shrapnel injuries.

"I think whoever wrote the article should have their legs blown off by someone," struggle through treatment "and then see who they would choose to put on the cover."

The accompanying story, he said, "just seems like a cry for attention" from Rolling Stone.

The transit police officer who was shot during a showdown with Tsarnaev and his older brother said he hoped the cover didn't glorify the surviving suspect in readers' eyes.

"They could've picked anybody else," Officer Richard Donohue told NBC's "Today" show on Thursday. "There's a number of people they could have picked for an arts and entertainment magazine than an alleged bomber."



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