Celebrities and talk show hosts discuss Miley Cyrus controversy

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the vulnerable sexy photo of Miley Cyrus posed with just a sheet and a bare back that’s set to hit newstands today in the June issue of Vanity Fair. Miley’s reps claim that famed photographer Annie Leibovitz tricked the 15 year-old superstar into removing her top for what would be an “artistic” photo once her parents left the photo shoot and she was more easily influenced. Miley’s father Billy Ray is said to be outraged and Disney claims she was manipulated into posing for the photo that potentially threatens her billion dollar wholesome brand.

The Huffington Post has compiled a list of celebrity quotes, and many people think that this controversy is overblown and that it’s not that big of a deal. A few blame Miley’s parents for leaving early, not watching out for her, and not insisting on final approval for all photos. Hillary Duff, who is now a pop singer after a similar career on Disney television, seems to understand why Miley’s photo is causing such a stir and while she’s supportive she says it’s not a choice she would have made:

Sally Field: “I love Miley Cyrus. My granddaughters are completely and utterly over the moon. I watch Hannah Montana….I think, ‘Let it go for God’s sake’…It’s a beautiful picture.”

Hilary Duff: “It’s a lot of pressure. I don’t know how I would even begin to give her advice because I feel she has a huge career and she’ll learn how to deal with it. Everyone goes through things and takes their own path. Who am I to judge decisions that she made? It’s not what I would choose to do, but if she did then that’s fine. That’s her choice.”

Lauren Conrad [The Hills]: “I found it a bit silly. I thought she looked beautiful in the pictures. I didn’t find it that inappropriate. I think it’s difficult. It s a lot of pressure on her since she is a role model, but I think she’s doing a good job.”

Heidi Montag [The Hills]: I think she’s a young girl in Hollywood and she’s just having fun. Exploring herself.”

Spencer Pratt [The Hills]: “I didn’t think it was that bad. Supposedly, she’s wearing a top underneath. It’s artistic.”

Tila Tequila [VH1’s A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila]: “I think it’s hot. When I was 15, I was doing the same thing except I bared it all….She’s just showing her back. She’s growing up. I don’t think she’s doing anything harmful. If the media keeps pushing her, pressuring her, she might end up messed up. But right now, I think everyone should just let her have fun. She’s not doing anything scandalous. I think she’s hot!”

Emmy Rossum: “I think she’s a role model for kids, but I think she looks beautiful.”

Rosie O’Donnell spoke out about the so-called scandal on her blog saying, “I had two photo shoots with her [Annie Leibovitz]. It’s intimidating. Annie Leibovitz. I also didn’t think it was a pornographic photo in any capacity. I thought it was kind of a beautiful portrait, you know. I like the one of her and her dad too. It’s Annie Leibovitz people. Leave Miley alone!”

Jamie Lee Curtis: “She is a young girl. She shouldn’t have to deal with any of this. I don’t feel that she was duped. I know the integrity of Ms. Liebovitz and the magazine and I know there were people present at the shoot that should have been looking out to make sure that this didn’t happen.”

Bill O’Reilly: “[Billy Ray Cyrus] puts her into a situation where she becomes, at 15, a sex symbol. Middle America… they don’t like this. Miley is a nice girl,” she made “a bad decision.
“She should do Oprah and say, ‘We made a mistake, here’s why and it won’t happen again.”

Bonnie Fuller [Star Magazine editor]: “Is it OK to sexualize a fifteen-year-old if it is in the pages of a high falutin’ magazine and her parents seem OK with it? Or is this really not much different from parents in a cult acquiescing to having their teen daughters wedded and bedded?

I’m not sure that it is all that different.”

[Quotes compiled by The Huffington Post, except where linked]

As someone who sees a lot of sexy images of celebrities it’s hard for me to understand all the hoopla over this photo, but I’m starting to get it. I was reading an article in Star this week about how to get Miley’s style and it features really cutesy star-print clothes, sneakers, and polka dot purses. That really brought it home to me that she’s only 15. She’s a kid who makes videos about how she loves Jesus and is going to stay pure until marriage. On the other hand she’s had very suggestive photos leaked that are meant to be private but suggest that she’s exploring her sexuality, and she was maybe half-coerced into a back-baring picture that makes her seem older and more experienced than you hope she is.

In a way Miley is bringing to light the very important issue of kids growing up and what’s too much too soon. When you’re a media darling, it seems inevitable that you’ll be pushed into some of the sex-filled sensationalism that helps keep the public interested and talking.

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19 Responses to “Celebrities and talk show hosts discuss Miley Cyrus controversy”

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  1. Sol says:

    As a mother of a 13 year old teen,i can’t approve those pictures.I don’t care if she was having fun or exploring whatever.There are lots of men looking at these girls with bad intentions out there (pedophils).My daughter has always looked older and i remember how disturbing it was for me once at a supermarket to see a 40 yr old checking her out, and she was 10!!!Lets not say its ok only because she is a celebrity.

  2. Syko says:

    That picture – with the tongue. Eww. She’s just not nearly as cute as she thinks she is.

  3. insidescoop says:

    I think its strange that at 15 she is often treated as a much older young woman. At first I thought that she 21, 22 due to the way, mainly, of how people treated her and the way that she was packaged. Once I found out that she was actually 15, I found it shocking and uncomfortable making. Even before these photos came out, there seems to be a push to sell her sex appeal. I may have this wrong, as I dont live in the States, but that is how it appears to me.

    If I were her father I would be really uncomfortable with the “selling” of my child. As people have mentioned, it is a lot of pressure. No matter how many people are looking out for you, in the end it going to be about, can you sell a product? I dont think thats a healthy environment for someone to be in until they are an adult.

  4. Mairead says:

    I thought the image was quite lovely – it was highly stylised so as not to look “too realistic’ with the texture of the hair, skin and sheet given an extra sheen to look almost other-worldly.

    It is controversial due to the previous marketing of her “innocent” image, but if it was a run of the mill 15 year old model nothing would have been made out of it. That’s not to say everyone would be comfortable, but it would still be a non-issue.

    I found the photo where she was posing in her dad’s lap far more disturbing. As one of the commentators in that thread said, it’s the “knowing” aura in that photo that’s disturbing.

    I studied Art History for 4 years and couldn’t help thinking, if students in 200-300 years time looked at those two images – they would “get” the first one as it fits into the canon of portraiture experienced for centuries. With the second one if after analysing it they were informed they were father and daughter, I’m convinced they would be as disturbed by it as we are.

  5. headache says:

    The solo pic reminded me of a vermeer painting. It really is very pretty and if she were 17+ I would have nothing bad to say about it.

    As for being tricked, how could warning bells not go off for either Miley or the minders when she was asked to take her top off?

    Now on to dad, I picked up a copy of people today and in it, he is quoted as saying he always tries to be Miley’s best friend. That’s where the problem lies. You can be a friend to your child and their parent but there is no way you can be their best friend and still objectively be their parent. Children don’t yet understand the value of contructive criticism. You have to be able to tell you child, look, I know you don’t understand why I’m saying this nor do you agree but this is inappropriate and I will not allow you to do this.

    Her father should have stayed on set until they were ready to send Miley home. But the picture of her laying all over his lap, the way you might hold your girlfriend while watching movies makes me think that finances, exposure, and Miley’s temporary happiness are far more important to either of her parents than ensuring that she grows into a strong, capable young woman who can make responsible, smart decisions about her life and career.

    If she was indeed taken advantage of, her parent’s backpedalling statements and willingness to blame others instead of learning for the experience will lead her to make the same mistake again on a far greater, more damaging scale.

  6. Bodhi says:

    Thats a very good point Mariead. I really don’t find the backless picture offensive or shocking at all.

    Those Hiils morons need to STFU. And so does that asshat Bill O’Reilly.

  7. Sasha says:

    Bill O’Reilly needs to shut his man-pleaser.

  8. Codzilla says:

    Isn’t this how it starts with the path of the pop star juggernaut? First, she’s sweet and virginal. Then, a few mildly sexual shots surface for which she and her minders apologize, claiming bad judgment, manipulation, etc. Then, these “slip ups” become more frequent until she’s a full on ho at 18. After all, as she gets older, she becomes less interesting to tweens and, thus, needs to appeal to an older audience to keep her career alive.

  9. sugarbear says:

    So the ‘Christian’ girl is giving us a snake tongue and a devil sign? LOL

  10. AC says:

    I think that its stupid that girls have to say “oh im a good christian and im staying pure” to be popular. Every person born is born to become a sexual being. Us pretending that teenagers aren’t sexually maturing isn’t going to help anything. I’ve said before I think it looks like a oil painting from back in the day… a beautiful portrait. People need to chill. I guess she’s a tad young but jeeze… sure men will find it attractive! but most wouldn’t act on it and that would be the case with or without her shirt on.

    When I have a daughter. I’d hope that she’d rather emulate this image than one of britney or christina slutting it up when they were 16… its REAL beauty and real senuality…

  11. monica says:

    If a regular person went into sears and requested these pics be made of thier kid they would be in Jail by now it’s not ok just b/c she is famous sick is sick!

  12. snappyfish says:

    so sick of this girl

  13. mamalicious says:

    “Now on to dad, I picked up a copy of people today and in it, he is quoted as saying he always tries to be Miley’s best friend. That’s where the problem lies.”

    Headache, this is a topic under constant discussion between my partner and I as parents : where to draw the line between being either that friend you so want to be to your children, or being their parent and having to address certain situations in a firmer, less ‘friendly’ way than we’d like. Maybe Miley’s dad should leave her to find her own best friend(s), and then he could just be her dad (which is a big enough role for any parent to live up to).

    Like many people here I find the portrait quite agreeable. I’m european and although I grasp the many reasons why this photo has become an issue, I don’t think it’s “sick”, as some have said. Her pose harks back to much earlier art and sculpture. Looking at it with a neutral eye, I like the ambiguity between the slight puppy fat on the cheek, and the direct, confident gaze at the viewer. I see a healthy, normal teen who is embarking on the great journey towards womanhood. I don’t know much but I think the criticism should be redirected at all those upright people who want to debate about her state of dress/undress under that sheet. Discussing the scandalousness of a bare back makes me think of the loud debate going on in the 19th century about the appropriateness of a woman’s bare ankle.

  14. JennGush says:

    I really think that the sheet picture and the one with her dad are pretty much NOT okay. I did some foolish stuff when I was 15 but I wasn’t famous preaching about saving myself until marriage or acting like I was as clean as a whistle. It kind of irritates me that people are putting blame on VF or AL. I realize this girl is only 15 but if she can’t even remotely stand up for herself and pull herself out of an uncomfortable situation, she is in some trouble. She is going to be faced with a lot more difficult decisions being in the public eye and being famous. I don’t think really any of the pictures portray her as a 15 year old, of course, sex sells I guess. It just disturbs me that this girls main fan base is below the age of about 14 and she is taking pictures like she is. If she didn’t want to be a role modle for youngsters then she should have come out acting like a tramp and I wouldn’t be complaining.

    Along with other pictures she took of herself and these I’m somewhat frightened. If this is what normal teens do….grrrr. I’m only 27 and by the time I get around to having kids they are going to be pregnant by age 10.

  15. jan says:

    Hey, Miley should embark on “womanhood” at age 18. I don’t care if she pays all of her families bills and owns her own home, Miley is NOT GROWN. She’s a kid making the kid-like decision to chase fame the way she is. When will these Disney kids just take their $400+ million in earnings and sit the hell down after their tween years of popularity. There are so many other things to do in life than to preen in front of cameras, snort coke, and have sex all day. Repulsive!

  16. headache says:

    mamalicious, it really is a difficult line to draw.

    I think you can be their friend as long as you aren’t their best friend and as long as you are willing to be okay with them not liking you for a couple days when you do have to make your parental stand.

  17. gg says:

    You’re right — it totally does look like a Vermeer. I instantly thought of Girl With a Pearl Earring. It’s the natural light and shadows. I actually like that photo, it’s the other ones with Billy Ray that are disturbing.

  18. billw says:

    What’s all the fuss about. When she’s in a swimsuit you see more skin than the “controversial” photo, but there’s no uproar.

  19. JennGush says:

    I think the whole, “You can see more in a swimsuit” comment is kinda funny for a couple of reasons. One, it’s not like the picture is of her at a pool party with her friends playing marco polo or whatever. Two, how often do you see mags like VF taking pictures of 15 year olds in bikinis? NEVER, b/c it is INAPPROPRIATE.