Memo Pad: Hitting Back... We'll Take It!...

As practiced outrage spread through America on Monday over Miley Cyrus' back-baring photos for Vanity Fair ("Miley's Shame" boomed the front of The New York...

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Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag

Photo By Kyle Samperton

HITTING BACK: As practiced outrage spread through America on Monday over Miley Cyrus' back-baring photos for Vanity Fair ("Miley's Shame" boomed the front of The New York Post), no one was more confounded than the magazine's fashion and style director, Michael Roberts, who styled the shoot by Annie Leibovitz. "I'm European. I come from London, I lived in Paris, and I just find it extraordinary that this has been blown up like this," he told WWD.

He continued, "The whole kiddie porn prurient angle seems to be worryingly sour grapes from other magazines that didn't get a picture like this...teenagers can be seen on TV and in the cinema in the most prurient ways, and then a photograph which is for all intents and purposes innocent is blown out of portion and condemned as some ridiculous apotheosis. It's a joke to me. But it's not a joke because I don't find it funny. I find it offensive. I'm deemed as being party to some kind of subversive picture of this girl, that she was cajoled. That we literally manhandled her into stripping is completely not true."

He also objected to the characterization of Cyrus' attire as a bedsheet. "It's a duchess satin stole, Champagne, specially made — I had several made for different photo shoots. I thought this one was really appropriate. It's about 83 inches long. She's not wrapped in something skimpy. She had her jeans on. She looked at the screen and loved the picture."

As for Cyrus' statement apologizing to her fans and distancing herself from the shoot, Roberts said, "This is a girl caught up in a gigantic enterprise where many people's fortunes are riding on her future. If it was fine then, I don't see why suddenly it's not fine."

Roberts suggested one rationale for the change of heart: "Maybe Vanity Fair is a far too sophisticated media outlet for her. Maybe she's better off in those teen magazines. We don't do cheesy teen pictures. We do chic pictures and pictures that are beautiful portraits by probably the leading portrait photographer of our age."

Leibovitz did not respond for a request for comment, but issued a statement through Vanity Fair Monday saying, "I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted. Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it. The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful." The magazine's statement said in part, "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day."
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