July 18, 2013 at 8:13 AM ET
The police officer wounded in a shootout with the Boston marathon bombing suspects expressed fears Thursday that the glamorized Rolling Stone cover of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might glorify the teenager and his actions.
“They could have picked anybody else,” said Richard Donohue, the Boston transit police officer severely wounded in the shootout with Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed.
“There’s a number of people they could have picked for a rock or entertainment magazine beside an alleged bomber, but I hope it doesn’t glorify him and make it so that other people will follow in his footsteps,” Donohue told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.
Donohue said he first saw the magazine cover on Facebook late Tuesday night before going to bed.
“First I kind of shrugged it off and when I woke up in the morning it started really spreading through everything,” he said.
The similarity between the Tsarnaev photo and a past Rolling Stone cover of music icon Jim Morrison didn’t escape Donohue, who called the rock star imagery "a surprise.”
On Wednesday, Donohue called the cover “thoughtless” in a statement release on the blog of his employer, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.
“The new cover of Rolling Stone has garnered much attention due to its sensationalized depiction of one of the alleged bombers. My family and I were personally affected by these individuals’ actions,” he said. “I cannot and do not condone the cover of the magazine, which is thoughtless at best.”
The photo has generated widespread backlash but Rolling Stone editors defended their decision, calling it part of the magazine’s long-standing commitment to “serious and thoughtful coverage” of political and cultural issues.
“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 magazine said in a statement.
On Wednesday, two major drug store chains – CVS and Walgreens – and Tedeschi Food Shops announced through social media they would not sell the current edition of the magazine. "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,” CVS said in its statement.
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch said he expects the controversy will help drive magazine sales but it also will be good to move national conversation.
“It’s easy for us to walk away from these things two months later," he said. "And we’re not.”