The land of Disney is not the happiest place on Earth these days. A photo of its teen princess Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. Hannah Montana), shot for the May issue of Vanity Fair, has been making the rounds on the Interwebs and causing an uproar with parents, some who threatened to build Hannah-Montana-paraphernalia bonfires.
The Annie Leibovitz-snapped photo shows Cyrus draped in a sheet with a bare back. The negative reaction took a bit of the shine off Disney's billion-dollar asset, and only moments before it signed a contract for Cyrus' memoir.
In a bit of a PR Play triple play, this was a gaffe not just for Disney, but also Cyrus and Leibovitz. Known for pushing boundaries with her pictures, Leibovitz might have pushed too far, letting her artsy side run amok with a star that's too near and dear (and young) to the hearts of a mainstream audience.
Cyrus says the photo "embarrassed" her, but this comes on the heels of other Web snapshots that show Cyrus, 15, flashing her bra. If this keeps up, she'll soon share the dreaded "starlet" moniker with Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.
All parties will likely survive intact as soon as the 15 seconds of attention the public affords to these celebrity-judgment lapses pass. If Miley can keep her top on and stay away from cameras, she'll get back into parents' good graces, Disney will have its cash cow, and Leibovitz can say she took a body blow for her art.
PR Play rating
3. On the right track