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Looks like Sinead O'Connor and Miley Cyrus won't be pen pals anytime soon. On Thursday, the eccentric Irish singer wrote an open letter to the young star, expressing concern that Cyrus was being "prostituted" by the music industry. Let's just say that Miley didn't take it too well.
O'Connor's letter, reproduced here, was prompted by Cyrus' Rolling Stone revelation that her "Wrecking Ball" video was inspired by O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2U."
"I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you," O'Connor, 46, wrote on her blog. "The music business doesn’t give a s**t about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted... and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, 'they' will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone."
In so many words, O'Connor's letter told Cyrus that she was making a fool of herself by getting naked at every opportunity. "Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to... refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you," she advised. "Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers."
Basically, O'Connor was urging Cyrus to rely on her talent, not on her body, in order to grow as an artist. It's not bad advice. Unfortunately, she presented it in a really condescending and unsolicited manner. For someone like Cyrus, who has so carefully orchestrated every one of her recent career moves, being called a puppet of the music industry must be the ultimate insult.
Even so, that doesn't excuse Cyrus' response. She retaliated on Twitter by posting a screencap of tweets O'Connor sent out when she was feeling suicidal last year. "Before Amanda Bynes," Cyrus tweeted, "There was..."
Okay, fine, so Miley didn't appreciate Sinead's letter. But making fun of O'Connor's mental illness (she's been open about her bipolar disorder), while throwing shade at Bynes (who is currently in court-ordered psychiatric care), is insensitive and uncalled-for.
O'Connor agreed, ripping into Cyrus in a second letter on her Facebook page.
"I am staggered that any 20-year-old woman of the 21st century could behave in such a dangerous and irresponsible manner as to not only send the signal to young women that its okay to act like prostitutes but also ... the signal that those who have suffered or do suffer mental health problems are to be mocked and have their opinions invalidated," O'Connor wrote, calling Cyrus "an anti-female tool of the anti-female music industry," threatening legal action, and demanding an apology.
Instead, Cyrus attempted to brush everything aside with a pair of faux-friendly tweets:
Sinead. I don't have time to write you an open letter cause Im hosting & performing on SNL this week.— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) October 3, 2013
So if youd like to meet up and talk lemme know in your next letter. :)— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) October 3, 2013
Yikes. For someone who claims she's immune to criticism, Cyrus let herself get caught up in all that way too quickly. She could have ignored O'Connor's letter; she could have respectfully disagreed; or she could called her on the phone and had an actual conversation. Guess it's probably too late for that now. But hey, more publicity for Saturday's Saturday Night Live appearance, right?