Miley Cyrus reponds to criticism of her homeless VMA date’s criminal record

Miley Cyrus

When Miley Cyrus won Best Video at the VMAs, her mysterious date accepted her awardon behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth” on the streets of LA. This young man, only known as “Jesse,” revealed his homeless plight to the world. He directed people to Miley’s Facebook page where she talks about her new mission for My Friend’s Place.

For once, Miley was using her platform for good instead of #twerk. Jesse also happened to be highly photogenic, so he attracted a lot of attention even before his speech. People were curious about Jesse and his history. The media started to dig, and it didn’t take long before dirt surfaced. Jesse has a criminal record and a warrant out for his arrest:

Days after he appeared on national television, news surfaced that Helt is currently wanted in the state of Oregon.

According to the Polk County Circuit Court, Helt was arrested back in October 2010 for attempted burglary and criminal mischief in the third degree. He was convicted of criminal trespassing in the first degree and sentenced to one year of supervised probation, 88 hours of community service and ordered to complete and adjust class. Additionally, Helt was charged $572 in fines and $186 in restitution.

Helt was also charged with criminal mischief in the third degree and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

The following year, Helt was ordered back to court three times for failing to report to his probation officer, failing to submit urine sample, using controlled substances and neglecting to follow through on the terms of his probation. Helt had returned to court twice in April and August 2011, and was able to continue his probation. When a third motion to revoke his probation was filed in November 2011, Helt did not return to court. Today, a warrant is still active for his arrest.

Public records indicate that Helt — who received his GED from Salem, Oregon’s Chemeketa Community College — moved to Los Angeles in early 2013. Helt’s mother, Linda Helt, told The Oregonian that her son was looking to “make it on his own” in California. He was homeless at that time, she confirmed.

Linda Helt also revealed that Cyrus had given her 22-year-old son money to travel home to visit family after the VMAs. “He’s going to be traveling to Oregon today,” she said on Monday. Of meeting Cyrus, Linda Helt said “He was at the right place at the right time… He needs to be blessed.”

[From ET Online]

It sounds like Jesse’s criminal record happened before he came to LA and lived on the streets. Does it matter? Many homeless people are driven to commit property related crimes. This is a very complex issue and nothing that can be solved on the gossip pages. Unfortunately, it does distract from the charity issue that Miley is promoting. She should have properly researched Jesse’s history before choosing him as a face for this issue.

Miley is upset that the media is focusing upon Jesse’s legal issues instead of helping homeless youth. She’s tweeting about it:

(1) People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.

(2) I hope that this can be the start of a national conversation about youth homelessness and how to end it.

(3) Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse their inaction?

(4) The media never fails to disappoint. You’ve chosen to go after Jesse instead of covering the issue of youth homelessness :(

[From Miley Cyrus on Twitter]

I agree with Miley. Here are more photos of Jesse from Miley’s Instagram. They went to In-N-Out Burger after the VMAs.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

Photos courtesy of Amanda Cadenet, Miley Cyrus on Instagram & WENN

 

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94 Responses to “Miley Cyrus reponds to criticism of her homeless VMA date’s criminal record”

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  1. TX says:

    For once, I think I am with Miss Miley, especially on this:
    (3) Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse their inaction?
    Answer: Yes.

  2. Christin says:

    Hope she sent him bail money. Supposedly the police arrived to welcome him home.

  3. Shelley says:

    Plenty of homeless people don’t have criminal records, and his is extensive for someone of any age, let alone someone so young. His record dates from before he was homeless, and unlike many, apparently he’s homeless by choice. She is insane.

    • krastins says:

      “someone so young” — yeah, people are more likely to get arrested when they’re young and dumb than when their older and wiser. Miley isn’t insane, she’s empathetic.
      “apparently homeless by choice”
      That is an extremely callous statement to make. If you are a follower of a religion that espouses helping the needy and poor, you should be ashamed, I’m sorry. And if you aren’t, you should be ashamed as a human being for caring so little for people who have less than you.

      • Ninks says:

        Homeless by choice is not far wrong here in this particular case. Jesse left his home because he wanted to be a model and ended up living in a car in LA when that didn’t work (hasn’t worked out yet). He wasn’t escaping a problematic situation of abuse, or wasn’t kicked out of home. He has flown home into the welcome arms of his family. Youth homelessness is a massive problem; and many of those people are in the situation because they have no safe home to go to. Jesse does. He chose to live in his car instead of return to a safe home with his family.

      • The Original G says:

        Oh. We feel completely confident based on a gossip blog that we know Jesse’s full story? Or, do we just WANT to miss the point here?

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Look, nobody knows EXACTLY why he left home.
        If he was being abused do you REALLY think his mother is going to tell the media “he left home because we were beating the piss out of him?”

        Man, I can be as cynical as the rest of you but I’m reserving judgment here. Very few people are homeless by choice. He could have run away, he could have been kicked out of his home, it could be anything but at the end of the day, he was still in a shelter. I doubt he would prefer to be there instead of a nice home or apartment.

      • Dommy Dearest says:

        ‘You should be ashamed’

        Oh man, here we go. Get off that soap box, krastins. He was homeless by choice and for him to go on television and speak about the people that are homeless not by their choice is a slap in the face to those that actually suffer.

    • Yolie says:

      I agree with NINKS this seems like it was very much his choice to be homeless. I was homeless once too but not because I was trying to be famous. She could have had someone who was actually homeless because of circumstances out of their control. It is great that she is bringing more awareness but choose a better spokesman.

      • Stormy says:

        She picked a homeless person that would clean up good to take to the awards. Of course she isn’t going to pick the pock marked, mentally challenged person that looks scary.
        My adult son lived in his car for 3 months. I gave him a choice…stop the drugs or live on the streets. Amazingly after a rough time on his own, he decided to listen to him Mom and get his act together.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      I was homeless and it was not because I wanted to run off to be a model in LA. Homelessness, and teens on the street are very important issues and Miley managed to muddy the waters by picking this clown as her representative. Any homeless shelter could have provided a better choice than this kid who skipped town on a warrant to pursue the boulevard of broken dreams.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      HE HAS A HOME. He has an apparently loving mother and siblings. He left town because he didn’t feel like doing court-ordered community service. He is a white middle class petty criminal who refuses to take responsibility for his actions (burglary etc) and blew his probation multiple times. This is hella different from being thrown out of ghe house because you’re gay, or living in a shelter because your family lost all their money due to medical bills. He’s a jerk and Miley picked a loser, of course. The whole thing is about his hair.

  4. lia says:

    I think it was a great cause, but honestly this guy is just using her.. I’m sure he doesn’t dislike all the free in and out burgers etc. he gets from her. I hope she knows it.. (probably)

  5. FingerBinger says:

    This guy’s mother said that he ran off to become a model/actor. So it sounds like he might be an out of work model/actor and not really homeless.

  6. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I can’t bash her for this. How many cold, rainy winter nights have I stood in my kitchen and been so thankful for the roof over my head and the food on my stove, and thought about how frightening and miserable it would be to have nowhere to go and nothing to eat. And counted my blessings. And fixed our plates, gotten into conversation with my husband and forgotten about it, having done absolutely nothing to help. At least she’s trying. I’m ashamed of myself, not her.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      +10000 It is so sad to see how far people will go to feel comfortable in their bubble. Jesse’s background dig is just another proof.

    • Kiddo says:

      @GoodNamesAllTaken, you’re so freakin’ lovable, it ALMOST makes me want to forget about beige booty shorts.

    • word says:

      Yes, always be thankful you have a roof over your head and food on your table. I am !

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree with the cause, in fact I support My Friend’s Place and have volunteered there before, it is just not sitting right how she went about it.

      It isn’t lost on me that she chose a “model” to take the award out of all the youth she could have chosen. There are so many lovely people there whose stories deserve to be heard! I am wondering why she didn’t share a link to MFP, instead of to “prizeo.com/miley”? There are number stars that support this organization regularly, like Joel McHale, volunteering not just money but their time…it just seems they do it in a less self serving way. I wish Miley was hitting more of the bigger points (like how many homeless teens are the result of a broken foster care system, etc.).

      So I guess I am glad she is highlighting such a worthy organization, but I wish that she had put a little more thought into it.

      • word says:

        The foster care system is horrible. As soon as you turn 18 they kick you out of foster homes. You are literally on the street with no money, no food, no home, no family. Imagine how scary that would be? Miley’s friends is not a foster child, not an orphan. He has a home, and a mother willing to let him live with her. Do you know how many homeless youth would love to be in HIS shoes ?

      • Tiffany :) says:

        MFP really opened my eyes to the challenges of the foster care system (though I still have so much to learn!). How hard it is for kids to successfully complete their high school education when they are frequently moved from place to place, new school system to new school system. Then once they hit 18, as you said, they are on their own without an education, without means of supporting themselves.

        My Friend’s Place introduced me to the term “Survival Sex”, and other horrors that are common among those on the street. Before I worked with them, I didn’t know how much certain factors contributed to youth homelessness: mental illness, foster care, and identifying as LGBT. I believe that if we focus on these issues, we could do a lot of good for a lot of people nationwide.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        It’s not just the foster care system that fails people, families fail too. My friend’s mother kicked her out when she turned 18. Changed the locks and threw her stuff in the street. Her legal responsibility was done and so was she, it was horrible.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Agree GNAT. Kudos to Miley for advocating for homeless youth. The focus should absolutely be on that and not on Jesse’s past.

  7. Birdix says:

    I have a feeling this guy is going to be very sorry he gave up his obscurity. Talk about a lightning rod…

  8. Mia4S says:

    She is beyond dumb. Either they knew he had a warrant, which means he was all but set up for arrest; or they didn’t, leading me to believe they were on the hunt for a “handsome homeless guy” and didn’t vet him properly.

    It’s an extremely worthy cause but this was a grossly cynical publicity stunt.

  9. cat says:

    People can ‘set out’ to something and it can go astray and they end up homeless. His record might be longer or shorter than others who are homeless. All of her points are excellent and homelessness in general should be the focus, not this one guy and what he did or did not do. I feel like ‘we’ are feeding into this here at the comments — compassion is the key, no?

  10. Jh says:

    Yeah, unfortunately there are many “homeless” teens that choose to be homeless. I live in the Haight Ashbury distinct in SF and see it all the time.

  11. Marty says:

    I think an issue was also his mother came forward and said he moved out to L.A. to become a model/actor and he can come home anytime he wants. Who knows what the issues are there to where he felt he couldn’t go home.

    It’s a good cause, but I’m still not here for those crocodile tears she was shedding at the VMA’s.

    • word says:

      He couldn’t go back home because there is a warrant out for his arrest in his home state. He violated his probation and the cops were on the look out for him. He bailed to LA. I don’t know how he’s able to go home now without the fear of being arrested.

      • Marty says:

        Oh, was it in his hometown? I thought the warrant was for L.A. Regardless, his criminal record isn’t what we should be focused on, it’s the cause at hand. I just kinda feel like the VMA’s were a little Stunt Queen-ish on Miley’s part.

  12. TTMuch says:

    I just think her choice of the one Hot Homeless Dewd is suspect, she woulda got my respect had she chosen Big Mike with the weeping leg sores. This must be the dreaded Ernest Phase of young adulthood, comes right after Shake Yo Azz

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      LOL! I would invite Big Mike over for dinner but he’d need to bandage up those soars,
      Nobody needs to see that when we’re eating a pot roast.

    • claire says:

      I have to object to this criticism. Do you know what would have happened if she had grabbed a homeless guy off the street and with her resources and money, not have cleaned him up for a national TV appearance? She would have gotten criticized for exploiting him, for assaulting his dignity, for being selfish and not helping. You don’t have to be ugly, dirty, or ‘weeping with leg sores’ to represent the homeless. So what they cleaned the guy up?

      • Tiffany :) says:

        She didn’t need to grab a homeless guy off of the street. There are a lot of people with amazing stories to tell at My Friend’s Place…but not all of them look like models. Perhaps a person who was on the street because of escaping abuse at home, being at the end of the foster care system, or being banished from their families because of their sexual orientation would be a better spokesperson for the homeless teen community in LA, because that kind of story better represents the community at large.

        40% of homeless youth population identifies as LGBT
        25% of youth in foster care will be homeless at some point during the 2 1/2 years after they exit the foster care system.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        But Miley said specifically that she needed to find someone that would have the balls to get on a stage in front of thousands of celebrities and millions of viewers to read that speech. Is it not likely that someone who has dabbled in the entertainment industry would be a bit more comfortable with that scenario?

        That’s the thing, it wasn’t just about finding someone who best represented the homeless youth of LA, it was about finding someone who could best convey the message. He wasn’t there to tell his story, he was there to draw attention to the plight of homeless youth. Keep in mind that it’s the MTV Awards and he’s speaking to young people—a pretty face might get more attention than Big Mike and his leg sores.

        I don’t know..I find it disconcerting that people are acting like he isn’t “homeless enough” to warrant empathy.

        Anyway, I so much applaud you Tiffany for your work at My Friend’s Place. On a personal note, I think they were very lucky to have someone as caring as you are to lend a helping hand.

      • Esmom says:

        TOK, very well said. I too was getting uneasy at how people seem to think Jesse doesn’t have enough “homeless cred.” This is a huge leap for Miley, imo, in the philanthropic department. Nitpicks aside, I think she has started a conversation that’s about much more than haircuts and twerking.

        And I agree that they’re lucky to have Tiffany on their team.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Good points, TOK.
        Thank you both for your kind words!

  13. Evyn says:

    They need to focus on the issue, period.

    Not to dismiss his crimes, but how many other people at the VMAs have criminal records?
    Too bad the Biebs wasn’t there, because he has done worse things this year alone.

  14. Jaderu says:

    Her heart is in the right place but something in this guys face says scammer to me. I know many homeless have trouble NOT getting into trouble but his record sounds like shadiness and not desperation.

  15. SorryLove says:

    This is a complex issue that clearly brings out strong emotions. Miley’s doing the right thing. Nobody should judge this guys “worthiness” in getting assistance. That is totally not the point. Awareness of this issue is.

    Goodnamesalltaken: well said and ITA.

  16. Merritt says:

    The cause is important, because there are so many homeless young people. Her outrage is misdirected. She or her team didn’t bother to do any checking on the guy. She basically went to a shelter and picked the best looking person she saw.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      I’m not sure I buy this as an altruistic gesture either, doing this at an awards show garners her a lot of attention and hopefully that results in the shelter getting some support but it seems to be more of a publicity stunt than any real action to end actual homelessness.

  17. Jen says:

    Miley’s heart was in the right place, but this guy is a total loser (and not photogenic at all).

    He was arrested for trying to break into a drug dealer’s apartment because he was mad that the guy sold him bad weed. He is only homeless because he left his (very wealthy) parents to try to make it as a model, and couldn’t face going back after he failed. Maybe he had a bad home life, but as soon as Miley gave him money for a plane ticket home he snatched it up and got on a plane.

    He’s a grifter and a user and it’s too bad that he had to derail the whole thing.

    • word says:

      His family seems very supportive and his mother said he is welcome home anytime. I bet his mom would have paid for that ticket home (since you mentioned his family is wealthy). There are more worthy “homeless” out there who truly need our help. Those that have no family at all…those who are kicked out of foster homes after turning 18 with no where to go. This guy has a support system already…his homelessness was more of a choice if you think about it.

  18. MoeC23 says:

    He’s actually an aspiring model who’s family has publicly stated that was never really homeless. http://www.thesuperficial.com/miley-cyrus-vmas-date-not-homeless-08-2014

  19. serena says:

    This time I’m with Miley, his past should not shade what she’s doing. People are so quick to judge without knowing anything.

  20. LouLou says:

    Great cause, but I’m skeptical about the real reason for her doing this. All of a sudden she’s put away the tongue and the vadge? No. They are using each other. She could have chosen a less camera-ready homeless person like a middle-aged veteran with PTSD who wasn’t offered enough post-military medical help. Still, it’s nice that attention is being focused on homelessness. I just don’t believe for a second that she thought of this on her own or is really all that invested.

    • claire says:

      That wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense since she’s partnered with a YOUTH homeless organization.

      • LouLou says:

        Oh, okay, I’m corrected. I still don’t believe Miley suddenly developed a big desire to be an advocate for social justice. She worked very hard for a year to present herself as a narcissistic, fashionista whose main goals were being high and pretending showing her camel toe to the world meant she was powerful and doing some “next level shit” that the rest of us (grownups) couldn’t possibly get. So, if she’s realized that that gets real old real fast and is toning it down, this would be a good way to start to change her image. Again, if good comes from it, that’s awesome. And perhaps being involved with this will cause her to care for real. She could really become an advocate. But right now it seems mostly to be a way to change her image.

  21. Kiki says:

    This is a very worthy cause. I would definitely donate my money towards helping the homeless. I am sorry about the people who has Lou Gehrig diesease, I would give money towards that too but not a Chavez in hell would I be stupid enough to put some cold ass water on my skin.

    Anyways, Miley, I am proud of you and I hope you grow with maturity.

  22. A. Key says:

    Is it just me or does he give off a creepster vibe in those photos?
    I’m all for giving homeless people money and getting them a job, I got nothing against this kid either. But if I’m being honest, I would not want to be alone with him at night. Or am I just paranoid?

  23. TheCountess says:

    (Chrome ate my original attempt, so hopefully this doesn’t show up twice!)

    “Many homeless people are driven to commit property related crimes.”

    This wasn’t a crime of desperation to get a roof over ones head; this was a drug-driven crime; Miley’s bud and a friend broke into someone’s house because they believed the occupant had sold them bad weed (which should cause one to wonder exactly what they planned to do had the guy been home).

    Now, in general, weed is not a big deal. But this guy wasn’t nabbed lighting up in the park. He conspired with another person to break in to someone’s private dwelling and do what exactly? Nothing good, I imagine. On top of that, he’s broken his probation *repeatedly* since then. This isn’t a one-off, and it’s not because he was homeless. It’s because he’s a criminal. Maybe a petty criminal, but nonetheless, not someone deserving of my sympathy.

    I don’t think this is cause for kudos; she picked a hot, homeless young person to exploit on national television. Try imagining her doing the same thing with a someone at the end of the thirty faces of meth poster.

    You can’t. She wouldn’t have been caught dead with such a person at an awards show, or snuggling with them in pictures.

  24. Tiffany :) says:

    Here’s a link to My Friend’s Place:
    http://myfriendsplace.org/who-we-are/

    Here is some information about how and why youth become homeless, and who those youth typically are (there are BIG trends involving abuse, LGBT youth, those exiting the foster care system, and those with mental illness):

    http://myfriendsplace.org/who-we-serve/homeless-statistics/

  25. swack says:

    While bringing awareness concerning homelessness and homeless teens, Miley could also be a bit more proactive. I read a story about Robin Williams and the homeless. It stated:

    A Little Known Robin Williams Story:

    “Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider.
    . . .
    When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. ”

    Reposted with permission from brianlord.org

    With her tours, she could also be doing something like this (as well as other celebrities). It’s one thing to talk the talk, it’s another to truly walk the walk.

  26. Leigh says:

    I am so confused. It sounds like this guy is capable of working to get himself off the streets. Why are we supporting him? There are real hardships out there that need attention, not someone that has an opportunity to earn a living and support himself.

  27. bowers says:

    Sometimes an individual is desperate for a cause to fight in order to be recognized, and I hope that is not the case here.

  28. Chuck says:

    I think a vast majority of people don’t CHOOSE to be homeless. Homelessness is homelessness, you can’t be a little bit homeless. I am amazed that people seem to be asserting that there are differing degrees of homelessness- that some are “better” or “worse” than others. We shouldn’t discriminate against or judge those that are living rough or on the streets. I am not a Miley fan by any means, but I think she responded very eloquently and intelligently to this issue. Watch this TED talk:

    https://www.ted.com/talks/becky_blanton_the_year_i_was_homeless

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      I agree that the vast majority of people don’t choose to be homeless but I would also assert that if you have a car and a home to drive to, you are not homeless. Yes he was far from his home in Oregon but that is not the same thing as being homeless and on the street and legitimately needing help. This guy is one phone call from a plane ticket home?! That’s on vacation, not homeless.

  29. astrobiologiste says:

    I want to believe. However, Miley looks infatuated… Jesse is a bad boy for her to save. And he might be taking advantage of this to jumpstart his career (some model-come-actors have had brushes with the police).

    I was surprised to learn that Russell Brand also cares about the homeless–and the non-photogenic ones, too.
    http://www.cracked.com/article_20413_5-heartwarming-stories-to-restore-your-faith-in-celebrities.html