O’Connor published an open letter urging Cyrus not to let the music industry take advantage of her in October this year. Since then, the pair have swapped barbs in public, with Cyrus receiving criticism from mental health charities for mocking O’Connor’s battles with psychological illnesses over the years.
O’Connor later said that she had received threatening messages from Cyrus fans urging her to commit suicide but, in an interview with Time, the singer said she thought their dispute had also been beneficial as it had created a platform to discuss larger issues.
“I think what was more important really that came out of the Miley thing was this issue of being able to conversate about how mental health and human rights is now,” she said. “I think she was actually very helpful. I think the two of us, without meaning to, did quite a good job in terms of creating conversation about something really, really important.”
Miley Cyrus hit the headlines again earlier this week (November 12) when she was criticised by anti-drugs campaigners after appearing to smoke a joint onstage at the MTV EMAs in Amsterdam. Walking on stage at the Ziggo Arena to accept the award for Best Video, which she won for the controversial promo for ‘Wrecking Ball’, she stopped to light a hand-rolled cigarette.
David Raynes, a spokesperson for the National Drug Prevention Alliance, told the Evening Standard that her behaviour was a bad influence on her young fan base. “It is irresponsible,” he said.
“The people she is targeting with her performance are much more vulnerable to the effects of marijuana. We know from research that cannabis use has more of an effect on the younger brain than the brain of a more mature person.”