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Sharp Turn for Miley Cyrus

May 11, 2010

When Miley Cyrus, 17, released her new music video last week, chatter about her attire (fetish gear), suggestive dance moves (writhing on her back) and setting (inside a black bird cage) spread like wildfire.

Some fans were you-go-girl positive. But the majority of people seemed shocked to see Ms. Cyrus — who will appear as the wholesome title character in “Hannah Montana” on the Disney Channel for another year — taking a naughty page from Lady Gaga. “I don’t want to explain to my kids why Hannah Montana has no pants on in her latest video,” said a post on the blog MomLogic.com.

Whether a 17-year-old should be using sex to sell CDs can be debated, and it is too early to tell whether the brand has sustained any lasting damage. (Previous scandals involving Ms. Cyrus have not dented ratings.) The real surprise might be that the Walt Disney Company helped it happen.

Hollywood Records, Ms. Cyrus’s label, is owned by Disney. Although she personally paid most of the video’s cost, the label at the least oversaw its creation and distributed it.

It’s not uncommon for divisions of media conglomerates to work against one another — except at Disney, which aggressively extols its companywide synergy to investors.

So, given Disney’s strict franchise management, how could one division participate in the creation and distribution of a product that could imperil one of the company’s most valuable properties? Disney declined to comment beyond a statement: “Miley, at 17, is now making creative choices as a solo recording artist that reflects her own personal style and vision. Miley was 12 years old when she began portraying the fictional character of Hannah Montana who continues to be beloved by millions of Disney Channel fans.”

Source: NY Times

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