Tsarnaev, who the magazine simply refers to as “The Bomber”, can be seen on the cover in a self-portrait frequently circulated by media since the April 15 bombings.
The article titled ‘Jahar’s World’ portrays Tsarnaev as a bright, charismatic and ordinary teenager who was a victim of poor circumstance.
‘How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster,’ the caption reads.
Almost 5,000 people have taken to Rolling Stone’s Facebook page to express their outrage at the August cover.
‘How f***ing dare you put a mass murderer on the cover of your magazine like making bombs in a pressure cooker and plant them in a public place to harm thousands of people is a ‘rock star’ thing to do. Never again will I ever buy a copy of Rolling Stone,” Lindsey Williamson wrote.
‘Maybe a pic of the little 8 year old boy that was killed by this piece of garbage would have made a better cover. Cancel (sic) my subscription to you (sic) publication,’ wrote Tom Guerra.
Matthew Adams wrote, “Wow, putting this guy on the cover of a pop culture magazine in a Jim Morrison pose? Way to perpetuate the notion that crimes on this level will garnish attention for sociopaths who are out to seek it. This is sickening.”
The cover story was reported by Rolling Stone contributing editor Janet Reitman, who spent two months interviewing a range of people connected to the suspected bombers including friends, teachers, neighbours and law enforcement officials who worked on the case.
According to the magazine’s website, the article offers several ‘revelations’ about Tsarnaev and his elder brother Tamerlan who was killed during a stand off with police.