Controversies

Pregnancy hoax

On September 24, 2007, rumors began circulating that Cyrus was pregnant.[56] The cause of the rumor was an image of a page of J-14 Magazine circulating on the Internet entitled “Miley’s Meltdown” and saying, among other things, “Miley herself confirmed the pregnancy rumors during a J-14 interview”.[57] J-14 immediately responded saying that, “Someone doctored the “This Just In” article that appeared on page 16 of J-14’s July 2007 issue” and that “this story is completely fabricated!”[58][59] The real story on J-14’s Page 16 magazine was about ‘Miley’s Gross Habits’ told by her co-stars on the set of Hannah Montana.

Seat belt controversy

In her movie, Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, there is a scene where she and her dad did not put their seatbelts on, causing her to be labeled by some newspapers as a “bad role model”.[60] Billy Ray Cyrus later apologized for this, and said

“We got caught up in the moment of filming, and we made a mistake and forgot to buckle our seat belts … Seat belt safety is extremely important.”[61]

Vanity Fair photos

On April 25, 2008, the televised entertainment program Entertainment Tonight reported that Cyrus had posed topless for a photo shoot with Vanity Fair.[62] The photo, and subsequently released behind-the-scenes photos, show Cyrus with her bare back exposed but her front covered with a bedsheet. The photo shoot was taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz.[63] The full photograph was published with an accompanying story on The New York Times website on April 27, 2008. On April 29, 2008, The New York Times clarified that though the pictures left an impression that she was bare-breasted, Cyrus was wrapped in a bedsheet and was actually not topless.[64] Some parents expressed outrage at the nature of the photograph, which a Disney spokesperson described as “a situation [that] was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines.”[64]

In response to the internet circulation of the photo and ensuing media attention, Cyrus released a statement of apology on April 27, 2008:

“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”[64]

The photographer Annie Leibovitz also released a statement:

“I’m sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted. The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful.”[64][65]

On April 28, 2008, Vanity Fair published their full interview and photo shoot with Cyrus and her father Billy Ray Cyrus, as well as the behind-the-scenes photographs, on their website.[66] According to the interview, Cyrus’s parents and/or minders were present during the entire duration of the photo shoot. The idea to pose with the sheets on was suggested by Annie Leibovitz. When asked if she were “anxious” about the pose, Cyrus stated to interviewer Bruce Handy:

“No, I mean I had a big blanket on. And I thought, this looks pretty, and really natural. I think it’s really artsy. It wasn’t in a skanky way…. And you can’t say no to Annie. She’s so cute. She gets this puppy-dog look and you’re like, okay.”[66]

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