In December 2007, a very brief controversy emerged when photos Cyrus had posted on her private Myspace account, depicting her and a female friend sharing a piece of licorice and "almost kissing", were spread across the internet, prompting rumors of lesbianism. Cyrus comments, "For me, I was like, That's two girls—it's not a big deal. But they got spread around. Like someone copied and pasted and said, "Omigod, look at this, and blah blah blah"."
In April 2008, several provocative images of Cyrus in her underwear and swimsuit were leaked onto the Web by a teenager who hacked Cyrus's Gmail account. Cyrus described the images as "silly, inappropriate shots" and stated, "I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect. I never intended for any of this to happen and I am truly sorry if I have disappointed anyone". On April 25, 2008, the televised entertainment program Entertainment Tonight reported that Cyrus, then 15, had posed topless for a photoshoot taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. 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. Some parents expressed outrage at the nature of the photograph, which a Disney spokesperson described as "a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines." Gary Marsh, president of entertainment for Disney Channel Worldwide, was quoted by Portfolio magazine to have said, "For Miley Cyrus to be a 'good girl' is now a business decision for her. Parents have invested in her a godliness. If she violates that trust, she won't get it back." 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." 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."
In May 2008, Gossett, Cyrus's longtime acting agent, left Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty for United Talent Agency, partially with the hope of "giving Cyrus the major-agency backing that would support a widening career", according to The Hollywood Reporter. About a year later in June 2009, Cyrus left both Gossett and UTA, which had recently negotiated her deals for The Last Song and the fourth season of Hannah Montana, and joined the Creative Artists Agency, which had already represented her for music. Nikki Finke, who broke the news, reported, "Is this fair to UTA? Of course not. But I hear the decision was made by Miley's mother Trish Cyrus".
Cyrus's performance of "Party in the U.S.A." at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards incited a media uproar, with some viewers criticizing Cyrus's provocative outfit and inclusion of a brief pole dance as inappropriate for her age, then sixteen, and for her young fans. Conversely, Newsday reported that her sexualization "has been coming for some time." Ian Drew, senior editor of US Weekly, said, "She already has this risque image, so it really wasn't much of a stretch. That's how Britney took off. She was the good girl gone bad, and it looks to be working for Miley as well." Cyrus was also criticized that year for dating Gaston, five years her senior, and for a photo displaying Cyrus and friends making "slant-eyed" expressions, which the Organization of Chinese Americans claimed was offensive to the Asian community. Cyrus apologized for the photo on her website, defending her actions and saying, "In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity! I was simply making a goofy face."
Later in 2010, TMZ released a video of Cyrus, then 16, giving Adam Shankman, producer of The Last Song, a lap dance at the film's wrap party. Cyrus's father defended her actions, saying Miley was just "having fun" and that "it's what people her age do". Later that year in December, TMZ released a video of Cyrus, which took place five days after her 18th birthday at her Los Angeles home, in which she is seen smoking from a bong. She claimed she was smoking the psychoactive plant Salvia divinorum, although this has not been confirmed by anybody but Cyrus herself. Salvia is legal in the state of California, and Cyrus was of legal age at the time the video was shot. Cyrus's father expressed his sadness regarding the matter on Twitter, saying, "Sorry guys. I had no idea. Just saw this stuff for the first time myself. I'm so sad. There is much beyond my control right now".
In a video obtained by The Daily, taking place at Cyrus' 19th birthday party at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, Cyrus went to the microphone and addressed the crowd. Immediately after her Bob Marley-themed birthday cake had been brought out, Cyrus said, "You know you're a stoner when your friends make you a Bob Marley cake. You know you smoke way too much f****n' weed." One week later, Cyrus' representative stated that Cyrus was just being a "smart-ass" and that the Bob Marley cake had just been an "inside joke" with Cyrus and her friends, as Cyrus' friend, Kelly Osbourne had been calling her "Bob Miley" since Cyrus' 2010 Salvia incident.
Read more about this topic: Miley World