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TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.

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Marianne Paskowski



Miley's Photo Shoot: No Apology Necessary

April 30, 2008 12:08 PM

Fifteen-year-old Miley Cyrus, the billion-dollar baby of Disney’s “Hannah Montana” franchise, is on the hot seat for posing semi-nude for Vanity Fair magazine.

What is the big deal? I saw the Annie Leibovitz photo of Cyrus that showed only her bare back, with the rest of her body gracefully wrapped in a sheet. I call that art.

According to published reports, parents with 6- to 14-year-old daughters are up in arms over the photos because Cyrus is supposed to be a squeaky-clean role model and a haven of safety for children.

The Vanity Fair article quotes Cyrus as saying the photo “wasn’t in a skanky way.” However, later, her handlers issued a statement from her saying she was embarrassed and that she apologized to her fans.

Does she have anything to apologize about? I hardly think so.

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Comments (89)

Dave Sanders:

inappropriate....period .

Dear Marianne,

Yes, she absolutely owes her fans and their parents an apology. Miley Cyrus is a brand now, and as a brand she comes inherent with implied promises.

One of those promises is that she is wholesome.

Before these pictures came out, Gary Marsh, president of Entertainment for The Disney Channel, said in the current issue of Portfolio magazine that, “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.”

With her Vanity Fair pictures she and her handlers violated that trust. Her apology is recognition of that. To apologise is to recognize she broke a brand promise. To apologise is a good business decision.

Cory

Marianne Paskowski:

Dave,

Give me a break. Remember what you and your friends were doing at 15.

Have the feeling I'm gonna get a lot of heat up here, bring it on.

Thanks for the post,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Cory,

Here we go. You know what really bugs me about American television? Violence and shoot-em ups are AOK. Anything hinting at sexuality, or the stirs or budding up of it are taboo.

I thought it was a beautiful photo of a young girl growing up. Think about this: her hormones are running amuck, and she's going through this in the glaring but profitable spotlight of Hollywood.Good for her. Hope she doesn't wind up on a psychiatrist's couch from this overblown story.

Frankly, I can't believe Disney was so blindsided here, not even knowing about the Vanity Fair interview until Entertainment Tonight got the scoop. You worked there. What happened?

Thanks for your always, well thought out posts.

Marianne

Wordsmith:

I think the photos of Miley are very seductive --
a pedophile's dream snapshots. Her "bare back, with the rest of her body gracefully wrapped in a sheet" as art?

Hardly! Fifteen year old girls -- at least the ones in my house -- likely roll out of the sack wearing a tee-shirt.

The only semblences of art in these pix: "artfully" tousled hair, artfully applied makeup -- including oh-so-very-red lipstick to accentuate her youthful full lips (the kind for which older women pay handsomely) -- artful over-the-shoulder 'come hither' look.

One commentator I heard last night made a thoughful point about the photos. To paraphrase: Miley may be looking to move past her tween age fans -- the kids who made her famous -- and into the 'older teen' market in order to advance her career.

The question is -- does a young woman need to shed a wholesome image and play the seduction card in order to do it?

Cliff:

Gee - I thought the picture looked like a typical American teenage girl moaning getting up in the morning and going to school. I could almost hear, "do have to go to school today? There is nothing important happening."

Also, she might be ready to make the move to another higher paying tv series like Christina Applegate's character in Married with Children.

I doubt this will hurt her and it sure got her a lot of attention. There is lemonade in these lemons.

Marianne Paskowski:

Wordsmith,

Maybe you don't really know what your teenage girls are doing after they leave the house.

Fifteen year old girls struggle with so many issues. I remember.

Now about this stuff about Miley trying to attract an older audience. If that's true, probably smart. She is a year older than her target audience, 6-14.

OK, the rest of you, weigh in, thanks Wordsmith.

Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Cliff,

Thanks for a moment of lucidity. Thanks for a male point of view.

Marianne

Cruiser:

Au contraire, Blondie --

Looks like Smiley Miley is auditioning for the next Lolita movie, and Vanity Fair is trying to cash in on her virginal fame. What's next? Hustler centerfold?

Let's present this as a model for pre-teens of both sexes, and mess up kids further with even more confusion over sexuality.

What's most clear is that Miley's parents treat her like their retirement piggy bank ripe for exploitation. But with this gambit, they've killed the golden goose of those few years left when Miley can cash in on her good-girl teen image.

Cruisin not Bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Cruiser,

You are obviously a man. Try to remember, unless you suffer from dementia.

I actually think the Vanity Fair shoot addressed a problem, teenagers growing into adults.

Think about this.

Thanks for the post,
Marianne

Kathy:

I'm not prude, so I have no issue with her doing the photo on a personal basis. But she's a public figure. Professionally, I don't think it was the smartest move. She has a responsibility to Miley Cyrus the brand. For that she was irresponsible.

Sarah:

Wow, seriously??? It is apparant that you all are well past your 30s, either that or you live in a box. Seriously, folks, it is miley's B A C K that is exposed here...this could just as easily be a dress worn to the oscars that no one would have said 'boo' about...but listen, seen through innocent eyes this is innocent (AND art, but to the unartistic, the interpretation of this photo would be amiss), but seen through eyes looking for perverseness, well, there you have the comments above. Give this girl a break, she is not showing cleavage, she is not showing her pubic area, she is not showing her butt cheeks...this is tasteful. I have a feeling most of this condemnation is coming from parents who are oblivious to what their teenage daughters are going through, and who are also alowing their sons to play violent video games.

Marianne Paskowski:

Kathy,

A 15 year old should not be a brand.She should be allowed to go through all the challenges that growing up means. Her parents, handlers & Disney are at fault here.

Thanks for your thoughtful response,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Amen, Sarah,

I'm in your camp.

Thanks for the post,
Marianne

Tony:

The latest according to SFGate.com:

**************************
"Hannah Montana" star Miley Cyrus thinks her hit Disney kids show should be more like "Sex and the City," because it's her favorite program.

***************************
C'mon, parents - get a clue here. She struts like a little slut on stage, she poses in her underwear, and then laying in her boyfriend's lap, and then semi-nude. Now this.

This is NOT a role model for your kids!!

Marianne Paskowski:

Tony,

I totally disagree. But I guess you are a concerned father, and I get that.

But Miley is a healthy young woman, and if Sex and the City is her favorite show, go girl.

It would have been mine, if it aired when I was 15. Again, Americans are such prudes about sex.

What about violence? I care more about that, and the frigging war mongers in this country.

Thanks for the post,
Marianne

Tony:

Just remember that we're not talking about only 15 year old girls here. Hannah Montana is an idol for six and seven year old girls. They're the ones to be concerned about. They're the ones that need to be protected from Miley's 'new image'.

If Miley wants to move her show to MTV, then you can argue that this "blossoming young woman" image might be more suitable. But as long as her audience is mainly pre-teen (and pre-ten), then you and she are both wrong.

Jeff Mulligan:

Marianne --

I'm afraid that in capitalizing on Miley's "squaky clean" Hannah Montana image they way they have, her handlers cynically exploit a societal penchant, or sickness, to sexualize young girls, particularly the "good girls." Who, among adults, had even heard of Britney Spears's sister--until she became the object of sexually tainted coverage about her good-girl teen pregnancy?

If, as you suggest, Miley is ready to make the transition to a young adult public personna, a new series or a naturally enough growing up of the Hannah Montana character on screen could have presented the story line tastefully, and just the way we'd want it presented to our pre-teen daughters. To use not-so-veiled titilation in an adult magazine desperate for audience buzz to accomplish the transition--or just peddle tripe--is the height of cynicism and disrespect for the impressionable audience that has sustained the Hannah character.

Jeff

Marianne Paskowski:

Tony,

I hear you and the many thoughtful comments on this post It's a hard one: kids growing up. When I was 15, thankfully, I was never a role model for 6 year olds. I was already necking on the back swing on the porch.

But she is a role model. I'm starting to wonder, now, what this is really all about. Maybe, heaven forbid, at the age of 15, she's too old for her demo.

Thanks again,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the post. Hard to believe a 15 year old going through mid life crisis.

But maybe she is. Remember she's older than her demo.

I'm glad I'm old.

Marianne

Joe Guerin:

In our media-juiced and sexually self-conscious culture, Miley's message is clear: "I'm a slut." What a kick in the teeth to parents who had thought that, for once, a good TV role model was available for their kids. Add another channel lockout to the V-chip settings.

Marianne Paskowski:

Joe,

Apparently you were raised in a "Leave it to Beaver" household. Get real.

Thanks for whatever,
Marianne

Colleen:

I'm going to put a 16 year olds perspective into this whole ordeal. When I first saw Miley's pictures I was like "Oh crap, shes going to get some bad publicity on this one." I was right about that too. I do think though that people are taking this way out of proportion. I think parents with kids who look up to her need to be happy that this is all that Miley is doing. I'm 16 and I know what kids are doing these days and its definitely not something parents would approve of. Kids my age are out drinking, going to countless parties, smoking, and having sex. I don't participate in these activities and I'm glad I don't. Miley is still very wholesome in my book and I'll continue to respect her unless if she messes up big and starts drinking or doing drugs. I don't see how she does this show show business thing. I've seen what people have said about Miley and its not pretty at all. People are wishing that she would die and they call her a "slut" and a "whore". It's really sad to see that. Miley knows people are calling her this but she continues on living her life with a smile on her face. Shes extremely nice to the people that she meets.
Tony- I happen to think Sex and the City is a pretty good show. I started watching it when it was shown on network television and I think it was more tamed down then when it aired on its previous network, but I think its a good show. If you continue to read the article Miley says that she watches Sex and the City and she likes how the characters have their own style and uniqueness about them and that Hannah Montana is sort of modeled after it just not the scenarios. I do see how your upset by this saying that she has little girls looking up to her but I don't really believe in role models all that much. I think its too much pressure for one 15 year old girl to handle. She's here to entertain your children not be their parents. I don't think parents should blame Miley for their kids troubles but blame themselves for allowing their child to do whatever they did.
Also i would like to add on the Vanity Fair photos that I see why Miley did the photos. If many adults were telling me that they have an idea for an "artsy" looking photo and that it will look great, I'd probably be like "Alright lets do it." Apparently none of the adults there at the photo shoot thought the photos were "skanky" unless if Vanity Fair knew the pictures would cause a scandal like it did and deliberately told Miley that it looked great to earn more money for themselves. I think Miley is a innocent victim in this whole scandal and she would have never done the photo shoot if she knew it would cause this much damage to her image. Nobody's really thinking about how Miley feels about this. The adults on here need to think about what it felt like when they were 15. Now just imagine if you were being hated on by parents all over America and those rude comments from teenagers were being directed towards you. Personally, if I had to go through what Miley is going through I probably wouldn't be writing this post right now. I'd be in the looney bin by now. Alright I'm done now, and thanks for your time.
-Colleen

Marianne Paskowski:

Colleen,

Thanks for your post from the eyes of a 16 year old. I trust, you are, but whatever, I totally agree with you.

Spread the link to your friends, please, I would really like to hear what they have to say about all of this.

I, as you know, don't have a problem with this. Apparently a lot of other folks do.

Best to you,
Marianne

Jason:

As a 21 year old male who just went through high school a few years ago, I can tell you right now that this is nothing. So what if she had a provocative pose? She could've been naked or got pregnant or be a complete and udder alcoholic before she's even allowed to legally drink. I think that there are a lot worse things in this world to worry about than Miley Cyrus reminding us that she has a beautiful figure. Its a parents responsibility to let their kids know that art is art and to simply explain to the kid that just going out and exposing ones self is a different matter. Plus, big dad Billy Ray, who controls every aspect of her life, is right there to watch to make sure it doesn't go too far. This family IS an example for us to follow in this crime-filled television universe.

John:

Wow, to say I am surprised at the outrage over these photos is an understatement. Colleen nailed it, this all about perspective. Few 12-15 year old kids find anything "racy" with the photos. This week we had a conversation with our 9 year daughter about the pictures and showed them to her. First, she couldn't understand what the entire hubbub was about and we had to explain why parents were upset. We said it was largely because Miley was being made to look older than she was in the photos and was being portrayed in more of an adult way. This was not BS, this is what we believe. To hear another poster say the pictures were a pedophiles dream is odd to say the least...look anyone who knows much about fashion knows that it would be tough to pick up a Vogue and not find pictures of a young teenage girl, sure she may not be billed as a teenager, but the pictures are seductive...nothing seductive about the Miley pictures, heck she is showing less skin than a teenage swimsuit model in a Target ad. The picture without a doubt is art, look at her face, to me that really captures what was intended...its innocence. Our daughter didn't even know it was Miley. BTW, she still watches Zoey 101 and Jamie Lynn Spears little mistake is a parent’s worst nightmare as pointed out so succinctly in Juno. In the end Disney needs Miley more than she needs Disney...with an established music career she could stop doing the show and just be a music artist. It was harder to get tickets to her concert than any show I have ever seen, they sold out in Indy in about 10 minutes! I get the impression she likes to do the show and enjoys acting with her father. For the outraged parents, don't worry your kids will likely never see the picture unless you have an undying urge to pick up Vanity Fair and leave lying around in a drunken haze. Vanity Fair could easily have made a picture of Miley the cover to sell magazines, but didn't so they deserve a little credit. Liebowitz always takes interesting photos and she almost always captures some vulnerability in her subjects...she did it again...in 5 years remember these shots, there likely will not be a Hannah Montana, but there will be a Miley Cyrus.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jason,
My sentiment exactly. I just read somewhere that Disney is going to monitor her every move, not liking the surprise they supposedly got with the Vanity Fair photo.

Thanks for your view,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

John,

Thanks for your viewpoint being a father with a nine year old daughter.

Marianne

Jo:

So, here comes another 'young person's' perspective.
Although I feel an apology was nice, I think this whole 'ordeal' is being taken way overboard. Miley Cyrus is a great girl, I don't think the picture says otherwise. I remember when I was 15, I did things I now regret, who hasn't? Miley is no different. Why? Because she's a role model? That does not mean she won't make mistakes. If ANYONE is to blame, I would say the parents. Because when you are in a room full of adults, telling you how 'beautiful' and 'artistic' the pictures look, I can imagine it being hard to say ' no.'
All in all, it's just NOT that big a deal. Especially with the things teenagers are getting into these days. I still respect Miley, and the empire she has built.

Marianne Paskowski:

Go Jo,

Thanks for chiming in here. Miley is a role model, heck, she's not shooting people at Virginia Tech.

Girls will be girls, I remember being 15, making so many mistakes. Gratefully, I wasn't in the spotlight.

I detest how Disney treats her as a brand, she's a young woman, just growing up.

Nice to hear from you,
Marianne

Jen:

Her is a 13 year olds oppinion on this whole thing:
At first when I saw the pictures, I thought she wasn't wearing anything, and I was pretty upset, thinking she was a slut. But then I saw the whole photoshoot, and the pictures where beautifil! I beleive taht's its pretty much like wearing a dress, because her back is BARELY showing. Not a big deal at all!
And about her personal pics of her with her boyfriend, I think that made me like her more, because I realized that she is just a normal teen, just trying to have fun like me.
So overall, I think she is getting way to much crap about this whole 'scandal' and I feel really sorry for her that Disney is pretty much monitering her every move now. She doesn't deserve this AT ALL.

Gia:

Here comes a 12 year olds point of view. It is absolutely ridiculous how much attention this getting, she's showing her back - big deal. Yes I understand she is a role model, but please. She's 15. When I saw that picture the first going through my mind was not "I wanna do that too" as some people on here think everyone that looks up to her is doing. These photos were artistic, and beautiful, there was nothing wrong with them. Vanessa's pictures were nude, and yet people are getting more mad about mileys. As Jo said, do you honestly think in a room full of adults, going : "It looks great, very artsy" Miley would say no? Think again. If I were 15 and Anna said that to me I would of probably said yes, I would of been "She's a professional, she knows whats she's doing. That was probably what Miley thought too. As for the sex and the city thing, please! Whats next, she listens to a "dirty" song and everyone hates her. Get real. Yet miley did the responsible thing and apologized. And now disney is putting their biggest money maker out of the spotlight and trying to make selena gomez bigger, please all they want is more money - typical disney.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jen,
The first responses that came here were from protective fathers. The mothers know better. Thanks for your glance on my slant. Go Miley!

Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Hu Gia,

I'm on the side of Miley, like you. She is a good role model. I just hate how Disney is treating her.

They are treating her like a brand to make money off, of. Someone else, actually a father, with a nine year old daughter had no problem with it.

He actually said Miley would do just fine on her own. Of course, she's under contract with Disney.

There's a great lesson here, about how difficult it is to grow up. I do remember.

Thanks,
Marianne

Pattrik:

This perspective is coming from a 14-year-old male.

Like most of the young posters have said, there is nothing wrong with the photo. When I first saw the photo, I was blown away because of its beauty. It was "artistic" and "classy" - no where near "slutty." I've seen girls at my school show more than what's being showed in this photo.

I hope I don't offend anyone, but I'm kind of glad, in a way, that this scandal occurred. It shows to the fans, the parents, and anyone who likes her, that she's not perfect, and that she will make mistakes. Unfortunately, because of Miley's fame, this photo was blown-out-of-proportion.

Lex:

This is coming from a 12 year old - props to the English Teacher for good computer typing. Haha. I agree. I'm a huge Miley fan and parents are taking this worse then the whole Vanessa thing. Seriously.. they're saying "oh because Miley's a role-model" ... um, hello?! Vanessa was nude and only like 4 years older. She was a role-model. Her fame was huge. I accept Miley's apology, like the post was, she didn't have to apologize. She did nothing wrong. She's famous, thats why this situation is getting so big. Everybody makes mistakes, listen to Nobody's Perfect. :] And about the whole Selena Gomez being the 'next' Miley - I completely disagree. Selena's show has already aired and it hasn't got the success Hannah Montana got. Miley's voice is pure, and Selena's is just regular. So what, people hate her for Nick Jonas?

I love Miley, and the only way I'll stop is if she starts doing drugs, or drinks. I used to adore Lindsay Lohan, but she was very mean to fans and so was Ali, I should know, she used to go to my school. She just left for a reality show. Miley.. something different. My bestfriend Sammy has many connections and says Miley is the sweetest thing. I predict she won't turn out bad.

Marianne Paskowski:

Pattrik,
Thanks for the perspective, agree, way overblown, and she's cancelling some Disney events.

Too bad,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Lex,

Miley is a nice kid and I don't think she did anything wrong at all.

Thanks for your post,
Marianne

Annie Leibovitz and Vanity Fair take the fall for this along with the girl's parents.

All three have benefited from millions upon millions of dollars of free media over this.

Annie should have had better taste and sense than to shoot it, (but she is into self perpetuation, no matter the price), as is Vanity Fair who could have nixed it from their pages, and the parents, who reportedly left early from the shoot, should not have.

Perhaps the one, small silver lining is all the parent-daughter discussions that are/have occured this week over it.
Peter Bright

Beee!:

Marianne.
Smart.
No sarcasm intended.

If this was another girl who WASN'T famous, it wouldn't be a big deal. The photos aren't bad- there are tons of teens taking nude photos, and I know this because I go to school with those kids. Miley didn't know that the media would portray her photographs the way that they did. Anyways, I see more skin when I go to the beach from 11 year olds. They need to give her a break and not be so judgmental.

Xo. Bee.

Marianne :

Peter,
Good point, wonder talking point for parents and kids.

Best,
Marianne

Marianne :

Beel,

I'm on your side. Thanks for writing. Frankly, I wonder why Disney treats her like a theme park character, rather than the budding, young woman she is and has done nothing wrong.

Marianne

Dear Marianne,

Miley Cyrus has become America's Rorschach Test. How each of us reacts to her Vanity Fair spread is determined by the values each of us brings individually to our interpretation. Observing the comments in this thread you can see the range in reactions. Miley is either a slut or a beautifully rendered young woman coming of age. Depends on your point of you.

Marianne, I really don't understand your snarkiness to the more conservative posters in here who are angry. Also, I don't understand why you're villainizing The Disney Channel for protecting its brand...a brand that might be more trustworthy and socially responsible than any other cable TV brand today.

Earlier in the thread you said that Miley's fans are as young as six years old. This is where you lose me. Programming for six-year old children is an enormous responsibility if you have a conscience. That said, how do you find so much fault with a company for positioning itself to parents as a company they can trust with their children?

I'd really like you to answer that, Marianne.

Many American parents want child-friendly programs and celebrities who share their values. As parents, they're not whack jobs, as you portray them here. Instead, they are conservative, maybe church-going, and turned off by the ever growing amount of, as Tom Freston put it, "bottom of the barrel" programming coming out of cable.

The Disney Channel is the only network on cable TV that comes close to being child-friendly while trying to give parents some peace of mind. Nickelodeon? They sold out to advertisers twenty years ago, and you will never convince me that team Redstone/Laybourne/Sweeney had the best interests of parents and children in mind when they did.

Never.

The Disney Channel was positioned as a safe haven for parents and their children, not advertisers. This is a business decision, and it is a responsible one. Disney not only has every right, it has a fiduciary obligation to defend its wholesome brand with the full force of its magical kingdom. Maybe you don't like this, Marianne, but Disney customers won't have it any other way. That's why they are so outraged right now. For many of them, The Disney Channel is the only television network they trust with their children. The Vanity Fair photos of Miley... regardless how beautiful, artisitc, or tasteful...are an outrageous violation of the unspoken pact between Disney and its fans.

These fans have every right to be angry, and you're seeing that now.

To be sure: Miley's parents have every right to hand her over to Vanity Fair, and The Disney Channel and The Disney Channel's viewers have every right to say, "No thanks. No thank you very much. This is not what we are looking for."

Marianne :

I Cory,

Thanks for your email, and I do appreciate your views. I reread the thread here, and most people found the photograph to be tasteful.

I do apologize if I sounded snarky, I guess I was just surprised at some of the knee-jerk comments that were posted here.

I'm not saying your comment is knee jerk at all, it was thoughtfully composed and I respect your opinion.

However, in this case I guess we have to agree that we disagree.

Happy Weekend,
Marianne

Dear Marianne,

I guess you're just a Nick Chick and I'm just a Disney Dweeb so we're going to disagree.

Thankfully we agree about the things that really matter.

Lucy and Kirby

Marianne :

Hi Cory,
I'm neither, my favorite TV show is CNBC's "Fast Money," hosted by Dylan Ratigan!

Guess I'm showing my demo, huh?

And yes we agree about the things that really matter, mercifully.

Take care,
Marianne

Chi-Town Mike:

IMO this is a live and die by the sword. What is Miley's target audience? Teens Who supports teen spending habits? Parents

Personally I believe too many parents look at the previous bubble gum teen before Miley (known as Britney) and parents are upset because they feel betrayed and are already riding the "Here we go again train".

Britney's sister was the bridge that fell between Britney and Miley and that is bubble gum "bubble" popped already.

Should Miley care? No... Financially she is set for life so it doesn't matter. She could fade immediately into and appear on VH1's where are they now 20 years from now, and she can laugh all the way to the bank at the TV.


Then again is what she did really that bad...? No

It's a heck of a lot better than Britney, her sister, or Lindsay Lohan. Plus it's publicity no matter how you spin it.


Is there really going to be a true wholesome bubble teen again.? Unless there's one hiding in the Osmond's closet, I don't think so.

Gum Anyone?

Marianne :

Chi,

I caught Geraldo Rivera on Fox last night in a wonderful interview about how two-faced Disney is, given the problems it has had with young talent.

He showed a segment of suggestive, teenage lingerie, all sporting Disney character, licensed logos. Disney is making money off the very possible exploitation of young budding stars.

Pox on the house of mouse, I say.

Good to hear from you,
M

Jeff:

Back when Miley was but a gleam in her old man's eye, Billy Ray Cyrus was upbraided for his singing abilities, re: "Achy Breaky Heart." He got, to put it mildly, belligerent. At an awards show, IIRC, where he picked up a statue after getting chided by a peer in the media, he slammed a quarter down on the lectern and bellowed, "Here's a quarter...call someone who cares!"

Anyway, I agree, it's much ado about nothing. But a little flash of skin and one would think it was little Brooke Shields in "Pretty Baby" all over again. The now all-grown-up Shields has said Miley should move on...as we all should.

Dear Nick Chick,

Game on.

If Disney exploits children then I support you 100% in your quest to make them stop.

Disney by definition does not exploit children.

If Disney is exploiting children, then by definition that isn't Disney.

That by definition is Nickelodeon.

I love Disney.

You know that.

If Disney is exploiting children then they must stop.

I unequivocally support you.

That's not negotiable.

But let's not be casting your nasty little spells...poxes and all...upon the entire Magic Kingdom when the exploitation pill was swallowed and dispensed by only a few.

Send me the pictures and the story.

I support you 100%, Marianne.

Let's stop child exploitation.

Let's stop it now.

Love,
Disney Dweeb

PS: Look. Here's something else we agree on. Stop child exploitation at Disney. Stop it now.

Confidential Memo

To: Patti McTeague, head of PR for "Disney Channel"

Topic: Miley Cyrus And Female Role Models

Dear Patti:

Damn.

You've had one hell of a week, haven't you?

I'm lucky I don't have your job, because last night your job got a lot more complicated.

Marianne Paskowski has just accused Disney of child exploitation and has put a, "Pox on the house of mouse, I say."

Given who Marianne Paskowski is I can tell you that if she backs up her spell with more of the same you've got some rough sailing ahead.

Allow me formally to introduce myself.

Once upon a time I had your job.

From 1990-1996 I was head of media relations for what was then called "The Disney Channel." I was lucky. I never had a PR situation like this on my hands, although I did have my challenges, such as Jeffrey Katzenberg continually harping, "Why can't you get publicity like Nickelodeon?"

The answer was always the same.

"We don't want it."

Still, Jeffrey was relentless, God bless him. This harping happened so frequently that we gave our response, which was always the same, a brand name:

"The Fart and Booger Defense."

That's how we at what was then "The Disney Channel" thought of Nickelodeon, although we never said that publicly, of course.

In fact, on Gerry Laybourne's first meeting with all of the employees of "The Disney Channel"...which she and Anne Sweeney took over after they built Nickelodeon...she told us that she had to promise Michael Eisner she wouldn't bring farts and boogers to "The Disney Channel" before he would give her the job.

Anyway, Patti, I digressed.

Sorry.

Let's have coffee sometime.

If you have influence in the cable television industry, then for two decades Marianne Paskowski has been required reading. Back in my day, when she was editor of MultiChannel News, we all read her every week. We respected her and we feared her. She is powerful, although she denies it. She and her publisher Joel Berger. They were so influential. They gave the cable television industry its news. They made quite a pair. Marianne knows who and what there is to know about cable television.

She just put a pox on you.

That's a lousy turn of events for a PR executive.

The voice of your industry has just put a hex on you.

If you're The Magic Kingdom you lose a lot of your Magic when other powerful magicians jinx you.

Especially when the powerful magician is Marianne Paskowski.

Patti, an accusation of child exploitation against Disney coming from the esteemed and influential Marianne Paskowski is lousy for you.

It's really lousy for your bossv Anne Sweeney.

She has been named The Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood three out of the last four years.

A role model for women.

Over the weekend I did a Lexis-Nexis search for Anne Sweeney.

Nothing popped up from recently.

It appears she hasn't said a word publicly about the Miley incident.

On the other hand, here she is pictured with Miley in the current issue of Portfolio magazine. The topic of the article is whether Anne Sweeney should become CEO of Disney.

I have some thoughts about that for you, Patti.

In service to Anne Sweeney you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

1.) Anne: you're one of the most powerful women in the world. You run the media arm of the greatest family company of all time. Your biggest star just found herself in the middle of one of the biggest scandals in your network's history. The topic is the role of young women in media and society. You didn't say a peep. On the other hand, here you are promoting your candidacy for Disney CEO with the child star in question. Exploitation?

According to Nikke Finke, Gary Marsh found her.

Question for Anne Sweeney: Where were you this week when your greatest child star of all time...a little girl...was under siege?

2.) Patti: Marianne Paskwoski is pissed. She's accusing you guys of child exploitation. What are you going to do about it?

3.) Patti: Eventually you're going to have to come to terms with Anne's "Angelica" problem. It's that twelve year patch at the beginning of her career at Nickelodeon at Gerry Laybourne's side where she unleashed Angelica, farts, boogers, and other rotten role models unto the world.

4.) Patti: Inquiring minds...Disney fans...want to know. Would Anne Sweeney allow her Rosemary to pose for those pictures in Vanity Fair? Disney fans are entitled to an on-the-record answer to that question. She's gunning for CEO, after all.

Don't get me wrong.

Anne Sweeney is 100% CEO material.

Perfectly qualified.

For Viacom.

Not Disney.

Sincerely,
Cory O'Connor
Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations
Chapman University

Marianne :

Jeff,
Shields grew up, and that's what this is all about, the struggles of young women in the public eye.

Thanks for your post,
Marianne

Marianne :

Cory,

Disney has a PR problem, and to your defense, you are the true keeper of the respected brand that is undergoing a challenge.

Disney has more to fear from Geraldo Rivera. I was surfing Saturday night and stumbled on his excoriating special on the Disney brand.

More people watch him than read my humble posts.

Marianne

John:

Cory, you are either crazy, bitter or both...if in fact you had the mouse PR job and loved it so much why did you leave, fired perhaps! Your personal axe grinding on Marianne is so apparent and so far off topic that someone had to call BS. Look, I had never heard of Marianne before this article, but then again I don't normally swim in the same shark infested waters as you two, but I found her opinion informed, on target and thoughtful. I especially like that she takes time to reply to almost all who post and at the same time respect their opinion. I like Disney and respect the brand both as a fan and a parent. But the erosion of the brand has less to do with Miley and more to do with ABC and ESPN. Regardless of any effort to separate the brands they are intertwined and it was never more apparent as this spring when ESPN spent spring break at the kingdom. I'll steal your line, I digressed! No one who creates children's programming is clean, it's hard work and in effect this is child labor. I've made kid shows, I know. As a producer you take extra precautions in working with child actors and schedule a shorter day with more breaks than an adult’s day. But it is still work with a ton of pressure. Disney is dirty than most because kids are their primary product and their demo skews younger than your hated Nickelodeon. No one in the business is intentionally exploiting kids, it just happens. Take a look at former child stars and the problems they run into after their time in the sun. The list is a long one. I do credit the mouse they try to develop the kids and support them, but there is only so much that can happen. Disney has become a blueprint for a music star from Britney Spears to Christine Aguilara to Miley Cyrus to countless others and they have realized the niche exists and would be foolish to not continue to explore/exploit it. Because in the end Disney is a business and businesses make money.

Marianne :

Hi John,

Thanks, but I don't take any of this personally, just comes with the turf.I know bloggers who never respond because they can't take the heat. I think they're wrong.

I welcome all responses, whether they agree with my slant or not.

So here's another slant on this blog. Perhaps, predatory parents are really the ones to blame in the end. I was once acquainted with a "stage mother" and I couldn't believe the crap she put her son with. He's probably still in therapy.

Cory is an old friend and is just passionate about this topic.

Thanks for the post,
Marianne

Hi John,

I appreciate your comments. Thank you for giving me the chance to respond to them.

I am one of Marianne's biggest fans. I've known her for 18 years, although we lost touch until recently. I agree with you: her opinions are informed, on target, and thoughtful. It's wonderful that she takes time to respond to every comment. Few journalists and bloggers do.

Her blog is an orchestra. She is the conductor. Each of us is one of her instruments, each with a different sound. We come together to create an opus...a conversation...rich in complexity, thorough in dimension, and reflective of many voices...including the crazy, bitter, angry, indifferent, smug, concerned, and dense.

I'm the angry one.

I'm angry at what I see being done to the company I love by the people who built the company I despise.

Thanks to Marianne I now have a place at the table to express my anger.

I am grateful to her.

Marianne :

Hi Cory,
As John points out, it's just business. DIS just reported a very strong quarter, minutes ago. Shareholders, of which I am not one, must be pleased.

Take care,
Marianne

jillbryant:

I just found this post and thank you! for saying what I thought when I saw the pic. I thought it was really a beautiful picture - has almost a painted quality to it. I'm not a big Annie L. fan but I thought this one was great - in some way it reminded me of Girl with a Pearl Earring or a Waterhouse.

As far as how much she revealed, I was never a really wild dresser but I had a ton of backless dresses for the summer - we all did.

As far as those up in arms, um...someone up there said this is a Rorschach test and I would have to agree. And, obviously, someone is worried about their investment in brand Miley Cyrus but I couldn't understand why they were upset and then I heard about the OTHER pictures that she took of herself in her underwear...and I missed the whole Hudgens thing (I think that's her name...)

Marianne :

Hi Jill,

Well said, your comparison of the VF photo with Girl with a Pearl Earning. I never saw the photo with her father, know what seems to be talking about that much.
Oh well, what do I know? Thanks for your comment.

Marianne

To: Internet Communications, Chapman University
Re: Final Exam, Part 2, 75 points

"Case Study: A Multi-sided Conversation about Child Exploitation at The Walt Disney Company"

You are Patti McTeague, head of Public Relations for Disney Channel. In thirty minutes you have a meeting with your boss, Anne Sweeney, the Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group. For three of the last four years Sweeney has been named the Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood by The Hollywood Reporter. A recent feature article in Portfolio magazine suggests Sweeney is next in line to become CEO of Disney.

In her position, Sweeney oversees numerous brands, including Disney Channel, the cable television network whose biggest star Miley Cyrus is the center of a controversy regarding photographs she took for Vanity Fair magazine. Respected cable industry pundit Marianne Paskowski is using her perch from her blog at TVWeek to blast Disney, ultimately suggesting the company is exploiting children. She then put a pox upon The Magic Kingdom, strong words coming from her.

Sweeney wants your recommendation. You should assume she has been following the Miley Cyrus conversation in Paskowski's blog. Taking into consideration TV Week's audience, Paskowski's influence, and the topic...child exploitation at Disney...will you recommend Disney Channel participate or not participate in Paskowski's conversation about the Miley Cyrus Vanity Fair pictures? What are the risks and rewards for each option, joining the conversation or not? There is no correct answer here. If you recommend Disney not participate in Paskowski's blog, write a memo to Sweeney with your recommendation and your rationale. Be thorough and convincing.

If, however, you believe Disney should participate, then what is your strategy? Who should participate? (Sweeney? McTeague? Someone else?) Write the first Disney Channel entry into Paskowski's conversation about child exploitation and Miley Cyrus.

Taylor Wilson:

Disney and Anne Sweeney needs to supply some answer for their support or disapproval of Miley Cyrus’ photo shoot. Making a statement for the rationale they chose will, in some part, give more focus to the issue of child exploitation. So I’m Anne Sweeney (but reality shows me as male).
---------------------------------------

Hello.

My name is Anne Sweeney Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group. I would like to thank everyone for their honest comments and be able to respond to the topic at hand.

There are two notes to make in this scandal. First, we have girl who is looked up to by many young children, most notable, are those that haven’t reached double-digits. Second, a girl looking to grow and become a woman whose acceleration is faster than the average because of an industry that “creates” the “ideal” women but, in any case, she is still of the age where she’s looking to grow.

Being noted as a leader of media in child development we also understand that kids do not stay kids and they try to grow. In our best capacity we try to allow Miley to accomplish this all while understanding that her actions influence a young audience that is far younger than she.

With our brand and her esteem in mind, we allowed her to express herself in the photo shoot under the guidance of her parents, other professionals and, of course, ourselves. By choosing Vanity Fair we did not feel this shoot would not be a prominent appearance in the lives of her younger audience, instead our hopes were to let Miley express herself and show that she is growing and ready to advance her career. Our intentions were in no way to exploit Miley, only to empower her

We at Disney express our apologies to the families that were taken aback by the recent photo shoot. Child learning, development, and growth is a balancing that you, the families, have so willing entrusted us to do. We hope you understand our intentions and accept our apologies.

Sincerely,

Scorpio:

First off, Marianne does not say anything about Child exploitation; the comments about exploitation are posted later by upset parents or industry insiders. That is what I think Disney should be worried about. The Miley case is mild compared the rep Disney is getting in general for all their actors spoiling. They had Britney Spears who is going a-wall, her little sister getting pregnant and even Lindsey Lohan from the parent trap turning into a drug/ eating disorder mess. There needs to be more communication from Disney, even if it is identifying the difference between their characters on television and those actual actors themselves.
After reading some of the comments on Marianne’s walls I’m a little astonished at how parents are so concerned about their children’s role models taking a picture with their back showing. I think they should be more concerned about the fact their children are using Disney “tweens” as their role models. Maybe I’m naïve since I don’t yet have children, but I don’t necessarily think this is case for Disney anymore. Granted they should have handled it right from the beginning and joined the conversation to nip it in the butt, but now I think since the facts are already out there, there isn’t much more that can be done.
Marianne’s audiences for her blog post on Miley are insiders, and primarily parents of the tweens that watch the show. Marianne simply stated the facts and left it open for people’s reactions. I think the negative reactions could have been reduced had Disney been more prompt to handle the situation. Since the comments to her post seem to be pretty even when it comes to opinions on the matter, Disney could be and should be the ones to clarify and set the situation straight, to save their butts and Miley’s.
An article I read explained that a Disney representative said “Miley was manipulated” by Ann Leibovitz during the photo shoot. Disney should have explained the situation and issued a press release right from the get go. They waited too long. I don’t think joining the blog conversation now would hurt; it could clarify things more and show the upset parents that Disney does care about their children.
Disney could even take advantage of this situation and incorporate this kind of lesson into the next Hanna Montana episode there for redeeming themselves. It could be about the pressure to do something and having confidence to stick up for yourself, or research it more to make a better decision.
I think because this blog is so subtle and not extreme in opinion, it would only benefit Disney to address their audience and have authentic responses about the situation. The angry parents are already blogging about it, Disney might as well give them something more positive to talk about.

Whatever Disney decides they need to become more consistent and learn from the situation and prevent things like this from reoccurring like they have been. Even if it's identifying what exactly they are responsible for and what the actors are responsible for. Pretty much it comes down to Disney needing to join the conversation and communicate with their public!

Pumpkin:

Ok let me first take a moment and express my opinion on the topic... I agree that Miley Cyrus is a brand. Her face is making millions of dollars for the Disney Company, Vanity Fair, and of course, her parents and handlers. Was this a “bad” photo? Of course not. She is young and innocent, and it comes across that way in the photo too. And why are the parents angry again? Since when is Miley supposed to act like a parent/adult? I must have missed that memo. She is an entertainer, a singer, an actor, not a philanthropist. She’s 15. Go tell parents that if they want a good role model, have their kids turn off the T.V, pick up a book, and read about Gandhi.

Now, to answer the question…Yes, I think that McTeague should participate in Paskowskis blog. She should answer some of the more serious topics that have been brought up in other posted comments. She should disregard the child exploitation claim, announcing that Disney does not partake in this and would never. She needs to remain positive for not only the Disney company, but also on behalf of Mileys sake. The risk of joining in this conversation, is that Disney may not approve of employees commenting or writing in blogs without their consent. She also may unknowing hurt her own image by coming out and speaking about this topic so casually. However, the rewards of joining this conversation outweigh the risks. It allows the readers of this blog (regular joe-shomes) to understand what the company is experiencing and trying to do to divert the attention of these photos. It also gives an opinion from a PR point of view. By commenting, the Disney channel/company becomes real and human, rather than just a big corporate company. And I also think this makes the company more socially responsible. Here is my Disney Channel comment from McTeague:

Dear Ms. Paskowski,
I notice that you have had some harsh comments on your blog and I would like to address some of these issues. From what I have read, there is a fine line between people who support Miley and believe that this issue has been blown out of proportion, and people who believe that Miley was foolish and now someone that does not connect with her audience anymore. Miley Cyrus has already apologized about these photos; she is a bright young woman who felt that the photos were beautiful and was unaware of the amount outrage that parents and her fans would give her. I hope that people can look past this and focus on what is more important. She is in the works to put on a benefit concert for children with terminal illnesses*. Her family and friends are really looking forward to this event and believe it will be a great success. We hope you and your readers will want to participate in this fundraiser. Thank you for engaging in this conversation as it is a serious topic for parents and her fans.
Best,
Patti McTeague

If McTeague posted this comment it would come across as simple, positive, and effective. She mentioned quickly the problem and addressed what is being done. Yet, diverted the attention by announcing what Miley has planned for the future. I think both parents and her fans will appreciate her philanthropic concert. Not only will it help her image, but take the attention away from the Vanity Fair photos.

*I made up the concert idea.

The internet is a powerful medium to communicate with, and blogs that Marianne's have a significant sphere of influence. She is credible, thoughtful and quite frankly, not someone that we as the Disney Channel want as an opponent. Her blog is a incredibly specific discussion of issues that target the television broadcast industry, and my initial reaction would be for Disney to participate in the conversation. After some conversation, however, I feel like the medium is inappropriate for this scenario. Here's why.

It's one thing for Marianne to comment on one of our favorite stars, and in fact her initial post was somewhat supportive of her brand despite the controversy. Furthermore, it's reasonable for industry professionals like O'Connor and "John", a supposed producer, to use this as a forum to voice their opinion. For Sweeney, or even for "myself", "Patti McTeague", to do so would be disastrous.

First, an impossible to miss target would be placed on Disney, with angry internet bloggers now given a medium to not only contact Disney, but let others read their messages as well. This blog works so well because there is a dialogue, between Paskowski and her readers. Should Sweeney or McTeague enter the discussion, they better be more than willing to respond to every comment and reply, as Marianne has done.

I think Disney's response thus far has been appropriate, issuing a prepared statement. Disney recognizes the possible loss in value in their brand, and they wanted to put a stop to it. While it doesn't do much to halt internet conversations like the one on this blog, it is the safe alternative that big companies use. Ultimately, Disney plays it safe.

I'm not saying that Disney should ignore the Paskowski problem completely. I don't know that her one comment about "child exploitation" warrants Sweeney's direct involvement, but if the issue snowballs and gains more attention, it is certainly something that will need addressing. Posting on her blog, however, is not the route I would advise Sweeney to take.

My advice would be to discuss the issue with Paskowski directly, either in person or over email, discussing the issue of child exploitation. I would make it clear to Marianne that the conversation was entirely "on the record" and could be posted in full on her blog, and her readers would no doubt respond. I feel like this is the most appropriate course of action because it allows Disney to participate in the conversation without deviating from the Disney brand, or opening up a discussion with publics that is impossible to keep up, at least authentically as Sweeney.

I think the general public, and even the well informed readers of this blog, would much rather read a personal discussion between Paskowski and Sweeney over email, than read a statement from Sweeney followed by inauthentic reply posts from our in house PR staff.

In conclusion, by all means participate, join the discussion. Do so, however, in a manner that you can fully participate in, not something at half-speed. Inviting Paskowski to discuss the issue, followed by the posting of said conversation is the most effective way I can see this happening for Disney.

Blondie16:

Disney should participate in this conversation. We are in a communication world, and you can’t wait for issues to die down anymore, because they don’t. This one blog went from saying Disney is in the clear because the pictures are not that risqué, to being accused of child exploitation. Something needs to be done before this conversation gets even worse for Disney.

Now obviously there will be some risk involved, because I am sure there are a lot of people out there waiting to get their hands on Disney to say something horrible. Entering into a conversation like this one can be setting yourself up for major bashing sessions. But it is worth it. Disney has the right to have their say, and they should want to. They deserve a voice in this conversation just like everyone else, and not entering the conversation would be a huge mistake. Disney is losing credibility fast, and sure Miley Cyrus and the Hannah Montana franchise may be fine now, but people, especially parents, may be wary to let their kids be so crazy about the next Disney star to come around.

This post should come from Anne Sweeny. She is the head-hancho, and ultimately in charge of what goes on in the Disney networks. The purpose of the blog should be to explain the reason for the pictures, and that a small situation was simply blown out of proportion. Secondly, the blog should address the child exploitation issue carefully, and be informative rather than defensive. So here it goes:

Dear Marianne and readers of the this blog,

I have been reading this blog for sometime now, and found the conversation very informative. It is also good to hear what people have to say about issues involving my company, and so now I would like to explain our views on two issues addressed so far in this post: Miley Cyrus and child exploitation.

The common consensus in this blog is that the photos in Vanity Fair were not as terrible as people have made them out to be. Our stars of Disney Channel, like Miley Cyrus, are not completely controlled by our company (which is what some people like to think). They are people, who are allowed to make decisions of their own accord. Now, if we had been aware of these pictures earlier, we may have been able to better foresee the negative publicity that would come out of this situation. I do not agree or disagree with what Miley did, but I think it was something that she felt that she needed to do. Her parents thought it was appropriate, and had the right to make that decision. I do not think that Miley, or her parents, realized that such a controversy would be made about these photos. Miley is a beautiful and intelligent young women, and I know that she would never want to do anything to disappoint her fans. She takes her job as a role model very seriously. This is why she was so forthcoming about apologizing. I think she did exactly the right thing in this situation, and we as a company stand behind her. Hopefully everyone will be able to move on from this situation soon, and I know we have all learned a lesson from this unfortunate situation.

Second, the child exploitation issue. I have to say that I was a little surprised to see this comment come up so suddenly in the midst of talking about Miley Cyrus. I completely disagree with the statement. Marianne is an expert in the television world, who is entitled to her opinion, but this is simply not true. The Disney Channel is a place for children and young adults to enjoy good, wholesome family entertainment. We have also tried to cater to young children, as well as young adults, and give them fun shows that are free from advertising and bad morals. Shows like Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens and Hannah Montana were created so that “tweens” could have role models and people to look up to, while also being entertained. The products we sell of our stars are simply supply and demand. Our fans love our stars, and demand that we give them accessories and clothes with their favorite characters. We are excited to see that our viewers enjoy our shows, and want to show their support by wearing our products. Obviously, if no one was buying the merchandise, we would not be selling it. We also help our stars to improve their talents. Miley has an amazing singing voice, and we wanted to help her develop this skill. This was the same case will Hilary Duff. This is not exploiting our child stars; it is letting them live their dreams.

I hope that this explanation sheds some light on how we feel here at Disney. We are proud of our stars like Miley Cyrus, and will stand by them as long as the situation is mutual on both sides. They are a great asset to our company, and we are lucky to work with such great young talents everyday.

Thank you,
Anne Sweeny
Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks
President, Disney-ABC Television Group

misplacedmessages.blogspot.com:

It is blatantly obvious that we have a problem here at Disney. Over the years, Disney has built its brand based on principles of wholesome values and family friendly products.

However, recently, the ever-popular "Hannah Montana" star, Miley Cyrus has become the center of controversy among key publics.

Some are now attacking Disney for child exploitation. It is essential that we take action immediately.

After reading through this and other popular bloging sites and reviewing the comments, it is obvious and expected that people have varying points of view on the issue...(some do not even see it to be an issue). However, it is also evident that the public is passionate about their viewpoints. This will likely fuel an uproar up blogging against Disney.

Disney needs to join in on the conversation. After realizing the scope of this problem by reviewing various blogs and comments, I have concluded that action must be taken as soon as possible.

Since you have been named one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, I feel that you, Anne Sweeney, should be in charge of this conversation.

You should approach this conversation in a compassionate and apologetic way...understanding that a breach in trust has been created between Disney and the public. (especially parents)

Considering the Vanity Fair photo shoot, it seems that Miley Cyrus is positioning herself to move on to more mature programming. She is growing up and maturing. Perhaps it is time for her to step aside and let other, younger, child actresses step in for Disney.

The abundance of sexuality is beyond prevalent in today's media. However, there are places for this...and Disney is not one of them. Disney should strive to maintain its wholesome image. It is a trusted brand that parents turn to when their young children are looking for entertainment. We do not want to lose this trust, or this image. If we are failing our customers and viewers, we must make a change.

In today’s society, Disney needs to step up and stand out against other networks that are banking on the over-sexualization of their programming.

The viewers of the “Hannah Montana” program range from children as young as six years old. Young girls look up to older celebrities. Most celebrities are not role-models. Perhaps Miley Cyrus no longer wants to be one for girls as young as six. After all, this is a tremendous responsibility. Miley Cyrus is, essentially, a brand. In this industry, she and her representatives need to understand that there are standards and moral obligations that come with becoming a role model to young children.

If Miley Cyrus wants to break out of the "tween" market (and it seems that she does), then Disney should allow her to do so by cutting ties with Cyrus and allowing someone else to have the chance to provide viewers with an innocent, wholesome image for Disney.

It is my opinion that Disney should take this action (cutting ties with Cyrus) and that we should state our plans for the network in our blog postings. We should remind parents that we will continue to stand out and set the standard for age appropriate, wholesome programming and entertainment for children.

BSOCHO:

Anne,

We’ve got a problem on our hands. I’ve heard you say, time and time again, “I’m attracted to difficult. I’m attracted to challenge.” Well it’s time to stand up to the challenge that is facing the industry right now. Are you aware that there are many people, once loyal viewers and followers of the Disney brand, that are now engaging in a conversation about how that brand has gone down the drain? TV Week, a respected and well-read website in which many of our entertainment industry colleagues tune into, is being bombarded with negative opinions surrounding our brand.

Disney has always been a firm believer in standing by its decisions and staying out of the spot light. When the author of the Cheetah Girls books claimed that we had cheated her out of millions, I was told not to comment on our contracts. When the star of one of our biggest, most recent hits, High School Musical, posed nude in photos that wound up on the internet, we kept quiet. Michael Levine, one of Hollywood’s top image consultants, even said that “What Disney shouldn’t do is make a bigger deal out of this than is necessary.” And that has been the road we’ve taken. Time and time again, when negative accusations arise, we stand confident in our brand and our ability to slide by without comment.

We can’t do that anymore.

We’ve been sending mixed messages for too long.

It’s time to unify our brands and work to remedy this problem.

Miley Cyrus has taken Disney to the top. Her recent photo that accompanied the article in Portfolio Magazine suggests that she has helped bring back our empire and that she may even be the cause for the talk about your promotion to CEO. She has been praised as a role model for teen girls and an example to live by. But at the same time, within another Condé Nast publication, innocent 15-year-old Miley appears seemingly nude in a Vanity Fair article.

This has caused outrage among other opinions. And it’s time for us to act.

I’ve always agreed with your statement that “our stories are created to encourage children to grown into well-rounded adults.” But we’re sending mixed messages here. And we cannot continue to support child exploitation.

Here is the solution. I do not believe it would be beneficial for any member of the Disney management team to join the blogging conversation on TV Week. I do not believe that we can successfully manage our image by doing so. But I don’t think it should be disregarded. It is important for us to acknowledge and realize the conversation that is occurring right now and that we are at the center of it. We need to strategically work to reconcile our messages and our products, shows and characters. We are a brand that parents trust and if we begin to abandon that trust, we will lose.

So what can we do? We need to strategically position our characters with the beliefs and ideals held dear to the Walt Disney Company. While the photo shoot that Miley did may be considered tasteful, it needs a direct response from us. Miley, Vanessa and Jamie Lynn chose to become brands for Disney. It is their responsibility to stay true to the brand but at the same time, our responsibility to recognize when they’ve grown too old for the series. Instead of chasing money, we need to advance our characters within the shows and move on so that Miley becomes a role model for older ages, not 5-6 year olds.

Anne, it’s time to put your global empire aside and stay true to your brand. Disney has been a well-respected and family-friendly network since its existence and that is what people count on. As Cory O’Connor brought to our attention, our father, Mr. Walt Disney, believed in the brand and its message. Here is a direct quote, from Walt himself:

"I've always been bored with just making money. I've wanted to do things; I wanted to build things, to get something going. What money meant to me was that I was able to get money to do that for me." –Walt Disney

It’s time to take the money that we’ve acquired and stand by our brand to create and maintain the image that has been laid out for us.

I hope you will consider meeting with me on this to discuss further ways we can fight this battle and still come out on top. My job is to be Disney’s image manager. And I see no other way than to alter the direction that we are currently moving.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Patti McTeague
Public Relations
Disney Channel

www.teacherawareness@blogspot.com:

Yes, Disney has some back pedaling to do, but a TV week blog is not where it should be done. The truth is that the issue DOES need to be addressed and an apology DOES need to be issued, but I'm not so sure a public conversation is the best solution for the situation or the Disney brand.

For years Disney has built their brand and essentially their empire on their wholesome family values and most importantly on the "trust" they've built with parents. The damage has been done. Parents feel deceived and Disney needs to take action to rebuild that trust relationship. However, doing so in a blog like conversation leaves the situation open for rehashing and ridicule rather than a rebuilding process for the relationship and the brand.

In my opinion, it wouldn't be in Disney's best interest to allow this photo scandal to keep being brought up and discussed in blog conversation as a reminder of the broken trust that many suffered. Rather, a public statement issuing an apology lets parents know that Disney hears their frustration, understands it and is taking action to prevent it from happening again; thus securing their wholesome brand image while at the same time restoring the relationship with the publics that got them there in the first place.

Space Ranger 1:

Will you recommend Disney Channel participate or not participate in Paskowski's conversation about the Miley Cyrus Vanity Fair pictures?

I think this is an excellent opportunity for the Disney Channel to have an intimate conversation with its publics. If you examine this incident, look at all the publicity that this has gotten. Ummm if I’m not mistaken, isn’t there like some big war going on somewhere else where people our giving their lives so we can all bitch and moan about a young celebrity who is only doing what she is told! Frankly I think its Sweeney’s duty to wrap things up and help people move on with their lives. Look at the f***ing magazine People!! Its Vanity Fair!! Your damm right the editorial content and pictures are going to be artsy and suggestive. Why are your children being exposed to this??? Oh because your sorry excuse you call parenting skills suck worse then when I was still breast feeding! Knowing that Miley is a BRANDED PRODUCT of the Disney Channel, Sweeney should address this and give the people what they want to hear, which is HOW and WHY… I personally can’t help but wonder if this was all planned???
Having vented and reexamined my loathing for issues such as these, I feel that Sweeney should stay out of this conversation because any admittance to fault will only fuel the fire. This is a regrettable situation for both Miley and the Disney Channel. The primary focus on any an all future publication appearances will be to Prevent and Mitigate any negative publicity.
My memo to Sweeney:

Dear Mrs. Sweeney:

STAY AWAY!

Regards,

Space Ranger1

Raquel:

Dear Anne Sweeny,

You have been named the most powerful woman in Hollywood for the last 3 out of the 4 years. That is absolutely amazing and you should take advantage of it. You have a promising career and future ahead of you, possible becoming the CEO of Disney, and this is your chance to take a stance and make a change. Recently, as you know, Disney’s “wholesome, pure, child-friendly” image is being questioned due to the sudden uproar and outbreak of Miley Cyrus’ Vanity Fair photo shoot. This is my chance to tell you embrace your power and try to achieve complete control over this situation. If nobody from the Disney Network is speaking out on behalf of their billion dollar “Hannah Montana” brand image, this could do damage to the company. In a crisis, in this case a “media crisis,” listening and responding to what viewers, fans, angry parents, or anyone who has an opinion about this is the best thing you can do. Listening and responding is proven the best way to solve a problem rather than any other way trying to gain control over this situation. Having Miley issue a public apology, monitoring and keeping her away from Disney events, and blaming Vanity Fair or manipulating a young girl into taking these photographs for the purpose of controversy and sales won’t really cover up the damage that has been done. Disney is a huge corporation that needs to bring a face to their image, making them more personable and not so much a wealthy company who hides behind the billions of dollars they bring in every year.

This is where I strongly recommend engaging in a conversation about what is going on. After all, this is your company’s image we’re talking about. Although Miley thought these photos were classy and artsy, it was still poor judgment on her side. She has a brand image, and she has established it through Disney, being that pure, innocent girl serving as a role model for her fans aged 6-14. In previous interviews Miley has made it clear that she wants to be looked at as pure and virginal, stating that her beliefs are important to her. These photos are a little contradictory to the image she was trying to portray. I understand she is a 15 year old girl and shouldn’t have the responsibility to be a role model for millions, but let’s face it, she is. I believe that there should absolutely be an apology on Disney’s behalf, because in the end, they are responsible for maintaining the trustworthy brand image that they have worked so hard to establish this. Disney is now the only brand parents can trust, and although this was not an overly sexual photo or a bad photo in any way, it is still damaging the way kids and parents look at Disney. Disney does owe their fans and parents an apology, an apology for breaking the inherit promises Disney has established as a brand. There are more rewards than risks for engaging in the conversation. Rewards include bringing a voice and face to the Disney Corporation rather than them being so big that they turn into a giant no-faced corporation. Engaging in the conversation will let the fans and parents know that you’re listening to what you have to say and that you care. Ignoring the problem isn’t the way to go, having a 15 year old issue their own apology isn’t the way to go. Disney is the one responsible, therefore Disney should show their face and discuss their opinion. It will only help, and you Anne, are the best lady for the job. By you engaging in this conversation, you will prove to all the viewers, fans, parents that everybody makes mistakes, and we learn by these mistakes. You need to re-establish your brand image as wholesome, and hopefully this whole thing will blow over. All I’m saying is that engaging in the conversation cannot hurt at all, but not engaging can still keep this controversy going. Not all publicity is good publicity. Do it for Disney, do it for the brand, do it for the parents and fans that spend tons of money buying concert tickets, souvenirs, watching the Disney Channel ect. They deserve an apology because of this broken promise. And although it really isn’t that big of a deal in the large picture, to many it is. Not everyone is liberal. We don’t want to lose any fans. Let’s try and keep them by engaging in the conversation and letting them know we care and are sorry.

Thanks for your time,
Patty McTeague

Mina:

Memo
5-16-08
To: Anne Sweeney
From: Patti McTeague

Undoubtedly Marianne Paskowski is an influential blogger who has distinct impressions about our brand and how we are accomplishing our goals as a business. While she is very influential, it is not with the crowd that we are concerned with.
We want to make parents and children alike happy with our brand, but she speaks mostly to industry insiders. Granted parents and industry insiders can overlap, but generally not to a large extent.
By addressing the problem on Marianne's blog we would not only be strengthening her power about on subject, but providing an unsupervised forum for dissenters to retort.
I suggest setting up a section through the press portion of Disney's website to address the growing concerns about Miley Cyrus. I would suggest putting up a statement, from you, about how Disney is sorry that it let down parents who strive so hard to instill strong morals in their children. Also point out that Disney will keep a closer eye on the situation in the future, and it continues to support Miley who, like most children, made a mistake and has learned the consequences of her actions. I would also include the apology by Miley herself.
After that I would post a space, much like on a blog for commentators to post personal observations about the situation. Write Marianne an e-mail inviting her to join our conversation in the matter. My guess is that someone, even if it is not Marianne, will post something about Disney and Child exploitation. The truth is we have a lot of angry parents out there and accusations are flying. Marianne is not the first to bring up this issue and she probably will not be the last. The nice thing about this method is that we will be able to direct the conversation and create a flow of information back and forth between ourselves and our clients. It will not be one big blanket statement on Marianne's blog it will be a real conversation where we can assuage parents fear and instill brand loyalty once more.
I look forward to reading your statement and rolling up our sleeves to tackle this challenge. With a little bit of authenticity I believe we can gain respect back once more.

bchchik13:

This is obviously a touchy issue for most people, but more specifically the Disney Channel. This photo shoot seems like a bigger deal then the Vanessa Hodges nude photos that came out not too long ago. I find this to be very strange considering they were both targeting the same audience—really young children, ages 6-15, maybe 6-16. I have younger cousins who adore, or are more like obsessed with High School Musical and Miley Cyrus or should I say Hannah Montana.
My quick opinion on it: I don’t understand what the big deal is about these photos, specifically the one of her showing her BACK! Maybe I don’t think it’s a big deal because I’m 24, but even if I were a child, I don’t think my first thoughts would be seductive, sexy, or child exploitation—probably don’t even know what those words mean at that young of an age. I could maybe see why some people, especially parents might not want their children to see these photos—well maybe I don’t actually! The photos are of her BACK! She does look a little skinny, so maybe I wouldn’t want my kids to get some image complex. But the photos are tasteful and have an “artsy” feel to them. I don’t think her audience would have even found out about these picture had the media not made such a big deal out of it—it’s not like her audience is reading Vanity Fair and even if they saw the magazine, she’s not on the cover, so why would they even look at it or take a second glance?! Oh wait one more thing—did anyone stop to think about the fact that her Dad is in the photo shoot with her—if he approves (he is a parent), then maybe other parents should take that into consideration?! It’s not like she was posing with sexy male models. Ok I’m done!
I don’t think Disney should get involved with this blog. I do however think that Anne Sweeney should make (another) a statement in regards to this whole debacle. Disney is dealing with a girl who does have a younger audience, but at the same time this girl is also growing up and can’t be on the Disney Channel forever. Miley is growing into a woman—she’s a full-fledge teenager at this point and is even a year older then her audience, who might grow out of her just as quickly as she’s growing out of them.
I know Disney has a responsibility and needs to keep their brand image and name all innocent and Disney-like—I don’t know how else to describe it. BUT, if they are so responsible, shouldn’t they have known about Miley doing this photo shoot and maybe put a stop to it before she even did it?! I thought Miley was their biggest asset-you’d think they’d be a bit more on top it or on top of her schedule. I highly doubt that Disney didn’t have any idea she was doing this Vanity Fair photo shoot.
Disney does need to keep a watchful eye on this whole issue and handle any more problems as they arise. This blog does reach a lot of people, some of who have some importance, but I think making public statements is what more people want to hear, plus more people will hear it. I just don’t think this blog reaches the audience that has a problem with Miley and her racy photos.
If Disney did participate in this blog they would have to be very careful as to what they say-their language needs to go with the brand and they don’t want to come off to defensive or possibly run the risk of putting Marianne Paskowski down or hinting at bad things they might be saying about her. Heaven forbid Disney say anything about anyone! Disney communicates with it audiences very well—they address problems and fix them to their best ability. This could be another opportunity of good, open communication for them—to help with their image or fix their image that has been “ruined.” If they participate in this discussion though, I think they need to participate in the other discussion of their so called Disney princesses—Lindsay, Vanessa, Britney, etc. It’s not like Miley is the first one to cause some controversy!
Do what you gotta do Disney? Sweeney-make (another) statement, maybe defend this company you work for. Tell them you didn’t know she was doing the photo shoot and that it was out of your hands-it was a decision made by Miss Miley Cyrus herself; that you had not control over what she wanted to do. Or maybe realize that Miley might be growing up and moving on from the Disney Channel. All of the other princesses from Disney have moved on and not all have done it gracefully, and yet you let them go with ease and didn’t make photo shoots such a huge issue. Miley is human and she has to make a living, make a life for herself-she can’t be controlled by Disney forever. She is business woman and needs to make certain career decisions for herself-this might help her career, I mean check out all the publicity, but it could also hurt her, but in the end-it was her decision, not Disney’s.
This is a great learning and growing experience for Disney and they need to take something meaningful away from this experience. We’re constantly growing and learning, even though Disney has been around forever, they don’t know everything!

reusi100:

Anne Sweeney needs to step up and address this issue. Whether Disney approves or disapproves of Miley Cyrus' "scandalous" photo in Vanity Fair, they need to address the fans and support their stance on not only this photo in particular, but child exploitation as well. I recommend that Sweeney comment in Paskowski's blog, addressing the concerns that other comments have brought up and [hopefully] bringing a resolve to this ridiculous issue.

Obviously, there is the potential for both risk and reward when entering the blogosphere. However, I think the potential for reward is much greater. Anne Sweeney will have the opportunity to bring an end to this ridiculous "scandal" and inform her viewers and concerned patrons that the Disney Channel stands behind their child stars and not only supports the decisions that they make, but also helps them to make those decisions. In her reply to this blog, Anne Sweeney has the chance to finally silence this scandal and allow for Disney to move on and continue with bigger and better things.

Anne Sweeney's blog post [as I think it should be]:

Hello Marianne!

I'd like to take the time to comment on behalf of the Disney Channel surrounding our young star Miley Cyrus' recent photo shoot in Vanity Fair magazine. First of all, I'd like to thank you for starting such a great discussion and I'd also like to thank all the readers of your blog who have taken the time to post their own comments and opinions surrounding this issue. At The Disney Channel we truly value the opinions of our viewers and take pride in our attempts to resolve any issues that arise. Reading your blog post and the comments that follow it have provided me and others at Disney with great insight into the minds of our viewers - thank you.

First of all, let me say that at the Disney Channel we fully support the decisions of our young stars. We do this because we know that these decisions are being made with the help of parents and professionals who have the stars' best interest in mind. This is especially true of Miley Cyrus and her recent photo shoot in Vanity Fair magazine. While the resulting photos may have come as a shock to many of the magazine's patrons, please know that we at Disney have known about and approved of the photos from the beginning. Miley, with the approval and support of her parents, chose to participate in the photo shoot as a means to expand her career and reveal a different side of her maturing life. Since Vanity Fair is a magazine that attracts to an older, more mature group of readers, we found this - as Miley and her parents did - to be an excellent opportunity.

We have seen that many of the people who are concerned or even offended by the photo have or know small children who idealize Miley and view her as a role model. Please know that we are fully aware of Miley's status as someone who is looked up to and admired by young girls and boys around the world. By choosing a magazine - Vanity Fair - that attracts to an older generation, Miley and her parent's felt that it would not attract the attention of her younger fans. However, as we have all witnessed, this was not the case.

I would like to apologize on behalf of Disney to the families that were upset by Miley's photo shoot. At Disney, our mission has always been to support and assist in the devlopment of young minds. Please realize that our intention was not to produce a scandalous, upsetting photo of one of our biggest stars. We simply wanted to support Miley on her path to becoming a rising, maturing star in a growing world.

Sincerely,

Anne Sweeney

Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks
President, Disney-ABC Television Group

Kalena:

First off, I would like to say that Miley Cyrus is not tarnishing the Disney name. The kids that watch her do not want to be her; they want to be Hannah Montana, the little pop tart that she portrays. If Miley wants to partake in a photo shoot that is more tasteful than her own myspace pictures that she has taken, then fine. Now if she donned her platinum blonde Hannah Montana wig and wrapped a bed sheet around her, I think that it would be in a whole different context.
Honestly, what is wrong with the Vanity Fair photo shoot? Why has Disney not stepped in when she had taken pictures of herself, with full intention that she knew what she was doing, in her underwear and lifting up her shirt, exposing her bra. Or the photo where she definitely showed some Disney pride as she shared a piece of licorice with another girl a la Lady and the Tramp with emphasis on the “tramp.”
I understand that Disney has a very squeaky clean image to protect but this is not the first time something like this has happened. Vanessa Hudgens and her full frontal nude pictures were worse. The star of High School Musical was in hot water but it is not really affecting plans to make the full length movie, plus kids still love watching it over and over again.
I guess that I feel I have become desensitized to this since it happens way too often. Britney Spears, former Disney sweetheart and current nutcase, is a mess, her sister is pregnant (I knew it was coming) and Lindsay Lohan is everyone’s favorite crackhead!!! All too often we see these girls with so much potential act out and make bad choices, what is new?
Disney should participate in this ongoing conversation because the parents are outraged. They already have Miley apologizing for the photo shoot. That is one step in the right direction. By Disney joining in this conversation, it shows that they do have every intention to try and remedy this disaster and regain the parents trust. Many parents are concerned and are outraged at these pictures. I feel that Anne Sweeney should address the concerns that these parents have on the blog since she is the Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. There are many risks and rewards going into this but, it is necessary that there be an authoritative voice that can clear up any controversy. The entry:

To Ms. Paskowski and fellow bloggers,
I understand that Miley Cyrus and her photo shoot is a very hot topic and after reading all the comments and criticisms, I fully understand where you are coming from. Concerns coming from parents mean a lot to Disney and Miley understands that she has made a mistake. Miley is a great role model for children and she would not want to be anything less. Here at Disney, we want to ensure quality programming that is family friendly. Miley embodies what Disney is founded on, fun –loving, wholesomeness. Miley has made a huge impact, there are girls wearing her clothes, going to her concerts and tuning in to the television show. Miley has created a household name for herself and she would not intentionally do anything to destroy that. She is also an average girl who is developing into a young woman before our eyes and we can not blame her for that. Here at Disney, we hope to hear more feedback on this issue and we hope that parents and children who are fans of Miley will continue supporting her because it is the fans that have made it all possible for her.
Loyally,
Anne Sweeney

As Patti McTeague I would most definitely participate in the conversation taking place on Marianne Paskowski’s blog. With as broad an audience as Paskowski’s blog has, and the revenue generated through Miley Cyrus’s "wholesome” brand image, it is absolutely imperative that Disney play a vital and integral roll in the conversation. The outcome of this very conversation could potentially damage Disney’s reputation as a respectable and trustworthy corporation. A reputation that has caused parents to spend there hard earned money in support of the many events and shows the channel has pioneered. Parents trust Disney to provide their kids with wholesome and quality entertainment devoid of much of the clutter and filth that plague television. This is less of an issue of if the photo was in bad taste generally, and more in line with the idea that it was bad for the Disney brand that has a fiduciary relationship with parents worldwide.

Between this photo and the one of High School Musical 2 Vanessa Hudgens nude photo, Disney needs to certainly address the accusations that they are allowing teens that work for them to poorly represent the company. As public figures these girls have a responsibility not to act “as normal teens”, but to act as model teens. Is that fair? Probably not, but it comes with part of the job description when your fans range from 6-14 yrs, and your employer is Disney. We hold those in the limelight to a much higher standard because they have the ability to influence. Miley Cyrus cannot pledge to not to do things she wouldn’t want her fans to do, and then take even questionable photos. When your in the limelight even the hint of impropriety can do damage. If this was an intentional move to transition from a “tween” star to something else, it surely could have been done better.

Anne Sweeney needs to first issue a statement concerning the company’s stance on this, and other issues concerning their stars acting in ways that go against the Disney brand. It needs to be Sweeney firstly because it shows this was a big deal, secondly because as a possible future leader she needs to build trust with parents and most importantly because her brand the Disney Channel is where Miley’s stardom exists. They should clearly show their disapproval of the photo, but then rally support for Cyrus who is after all possibly too young to have realized the damage the photo would do.

They need to do this first with a press conference and then with a press release. In these it needs to be carefully laid out what exactly happened and that if Disney had been aware of the situation it would not have come this far. After this is done Patti McTeague absolutely needs to send the communications team out into the blogosphere to address the conversation taking place. It is imperative that they are not defensive, but rather apologetic. They need to remind people that this is not an issue about if this picture was appropriate or not for Miley. It was not appropriate for Disney, and as an employee of Disney we hold Miley to higher standard. They need to reiterate that they are not a company that exploits children, but rather one that acknowledges a lapse in judgment was made, and will take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.

This especially needs to be done on Marianne’s page! Refusal to participate in the conversation can only leave open room for rumors and theories. Disney needs authentic and two way communication that simply lays out the situation, what went wrong and how it can and will be avoided in the future. At least by participating in the conversation they can have their position heard, keeping quiet in PR is just plain stupid.

I do not believe that Disney exploits children. Come on this is a company that bases its entire business on entertaining children in a way that parents can rally behind. Disney is no fool they know who writes the checks in households across the U.S. and the world. It certainly isn’t Miley’s fan base, and so I doubt they are under the impression that this is going to sell tickets to her events. Painting Disney out to be some villain is preposterous. Stunts like these may work at MTV, but the good people at Disney aren’t fools. What happened here is Disney is dealing with kids, pure and simple. When you deal with kids, things can go awry. They need to gather up the wagons and come out with an authentic and credible response to the situation. I’m not saying that Disney is some perfect and wonderful godly company that is just so above any impropriety, but I am saying they are smart enough to know this wasn’t good for business.

A viewpoint from a PR/Advertising student
Badbananas.wordpress.com

To: Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair Disney Media Networks and President Disney-ABC Television Group

From: Patti McTeague, PR head for Disney Channel

Re: Marianne Paskowski, TV Week blogger, Child Exploitation, and Miley Cyrus

In the internet world, the Miley Cyrus photo incident in Vanity Fair has hit the fan. Marianne Paskowski, one of the most respected pundits in the cable industry, has blogged about Miley’s photo on TVweek.com, and the post has generated 60 comments. TV Week is read by industry insiders, people who know their stuff. These are powerful individuals who are talking about Miley. Moreover, they are talking about the Miley Cyrus brand, a brand that is owned by Disney Channel. But most importantly, they are talking about Disney. Paskowski has said; “Disney is making money off the very possible exploitation of young budding stars. Pox on the house of mouse, I say.” This is dangerous water to tread. The photos themselves already created quite a stir with traditional media. This conversation could be even more dangerous to our reputation. People are talking. It is time we talked back.

To back my case, let me recommend you read Naked Conversations by Scoble and Israel. The authors address the importance of corporate blogging in today’s tech savvy world. People want to know what companies are doing from people in the company’s themselves. Corporate monoliths are not always the right answer. A little authenticity can go a long way. Take the example of Microsoft. They used to be hated with a passion. Then they started a blog. Combined with better social responsibility, the blog made them appear less scary. You don’t see Microsoft in the news so often anymore. Scoble and Israel suggest that in a time of crisis – like what we’re experiencing right now with Miley – blogging can buy the company time. They urge that the blog must come from someone well known in the company and must be honest. It does not have to provide an immediate solution to the problem, but it does need to be current and to address the specific concerns of individuals until a better solution will arise.

Take SixApart for example, the original blog software company that invented Moveable Type. They started out great, but then they changed their billing policy and had customers in an uproar. Everyone was blogging about how much they hated the change and how they felt tricked by their company. SixApart responded by joining the online conversation and posting to the blog. They took the bad and the good and responded to the heat. They showed that they were listening and that their audience’s complaints were a serious concern. And soon, people weren’t so angry. They came to understand that the company had made a mistake and that they were doing their best to fix it. The people became more patient because they knew that their concerns were being addressed. And more importantly, the information was credible because it came from someone who was deep inside the company. It wasn’t just a big corporation anymore. It was a person. People are allowed to make mistakes; we all do. Big brands and companies aren’t (at least not according to public perception).
Our situation is similar. There are 60 people commenting on a blog about the incident, and likely many more reading the comments. We have been accused of exploiting children. Parents are upset and feel that they have been lied to. Miley Cyrus is supposed to be a wholesome role model for their children. Many are now questioning our intentions.

We should have joined the conversation a long time ago. We should have been blogging about our intentions. This has already happened too many times. Britney Spears. Lindsay Lohan. Jamie Lynn Spears. And now Miley. We need to remind families that they are and have always been out number one priority. We want to be good role models for children. We want parents to know that they can count on us. And we want them to know that we aren’t perfect and that we do make mistakes, but we aren’t inherently bad. We have the best intentions in mind. So when people are upset at us, we need to let them know that we are listening. We need to communicate from the heart. A heart that beats with a love for families.

There are risks. We don’t want to say anything that we don’t believe is true. By getting involved in the conversation, we open ourselves up to the criticism and we become vulnerable. We also are taking responsibility. We can’t hide behind the teenagers themselves. This has proven to be ineffective. Our success cannot be reliant solely on the decisions of a 15-year-old megastar who is searching for her identity as a young woman. Miley has already apologized. I have been quoted in the New York Times saying; “Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines.” But the parents and media pundits need to hear it from you. After all, you may be the next Disney Channel CEO. Parents need to know that Disney is still a safe place for families.

Here is what I suggest you immediately post on Marianne Paskowski’s blog:

We at the Disney Channel are sincerely concerned about the accusations of Disney Channel as exploitative of children for financial gains. This was never our intention nor is it something we stand for. Disney has always and continues to have family values as its number one priority. We apologize that recent photographs have caused children and their parents to think otherwise. We are listening intently to what you have to say. We welcome your comments and your criticisms. We are making efforts to prevent future violations of your trust. Thank you for taking care of your children and ensuring that they have positive role models. We intend to do the same with our child stars. We, like you, want what’s best for them.

Sincerely,

Anne Sweeney, Disney Media Networks Co-Chair

This should not be the end of the conversation, just the beginning.

Ashley Vargus:

The Disney Channel needs to be certain it can overcome several obstacles through their posting on this blog before I believe it would be a wise decision to do so.

First off, public opinion on this blog seems to go back and forth between her behavior being fine and her behavior being appropriate, and those opinions seem to vary according to the audience. In general, Miley’s fans tend to feel that her behavior was acceptable, while parents of those same fans tend to be appalled. Finding a way to acknowledge the opinions and validity of both parties on this blog could be extremely difficult challenge to overcome. Second, any acknowledgement of the fact that Miley’s photoshoot was in some way the fault of her Disney handlers could further reinforce the detrimental idea that Disney is exploiting their child stars. The fact that Anne Sweeney posed beside her in Portfolio (a Conde Nast publication), and then eleven days later Miley posed for the photos in Vanity Fair (another Conde Nast publication) makes it hard for me to believe that Disney was actually unaware of the planned photo shoot, or that Anne Sweeney didn’t have at least a partial hand in it. This opinion seems to be fairly widely held amongst readers of this blog, and thus means that for Patti McTeague to post any sort of statement, she needs to be prepared to address this fact, and to follow up with a response to any comments or criticisms bloggers post on this thread.

Also, given the fact that Disney representatives were most likely aware of her actions (and executive representatives at that) I feel that it was the responsibility of Disney to oversee this photoshoot and ensure that Miley, a valuable asset to their company and an idol for young prepubescent girls everywhere, did not agree to pose in such a way that could be compromising to her image and the Disney company itself. For this reason, in her posted statement Patti McTeague would need to address the fact that Disney is taking responsibility for this incident, and to issue an apology and detail the ways in which Disney was taking action to ensure this sort of behavior did not take place again. However, for such a statement to hold any weight, I believe it would need to come from Anne Sweeney herself.

Ultimately, I feel that a statement from Anne Sweeney apologizing for the neglectful behavior of Disney could be beneficial to the company and Miley herself, but that this blog may not be the appropriate place to do so. Due to the fact that responding in a blog would require her to follow up with responses to further comments, Anne Sweeney would be taking on a big responsibility and if she neglected to follow through completely it could be damaging to herself, the star, and the Disney Channel itself. For these reasons I would compose a memo recommending that she issue a public statement elsewhere, but a public statement all the same, addressing all of the points from above.

Disney should most definitely participate in this conversational between bloggers. Marianna Paskowski, “ a respected cable industry pundit”, has some major pull with readers and should be addressed accordingly. Teen celebrities have been a controversy over the last few years and have created millions in media buzz.
I would recommend to Anne Sweeney that she start the dialogue with a clear apology. Miley Cyrus is ultimately a branded image that young girls look to for everything from fashion choices to life choices. Marianne stated that “15 year olds should not be a brand.” Well it may be true that she shouldn’t be, but she is, and that brand has made her a billion dollar household name. The name Miley Cyrus ultimately conveys a series of specific images, such as innocence and wholesomeness. These photos in Vanity Fair have essentially betrayed those promised public images and have destroyed what Disney has worked so hard to obtain.
The strategy would be to basically issue an apology directly from Anne Sweeney. Due to the nature of blogging in general, Sweeney would need to approach the topic in a conversational fashion that will not come off as processed. She needs to address the assorted conversations that are occurring between the bloggers. Therefore, each blog needs to be closely analyzed to determine the most successful approach. Disney basically has an intangible aura about them that makes the company impersonal .This approach would simultaneously give Disney new dimensions and simultaneously assist in a PR campaign to cure Miley Cyrus of her tainted image. The fact Anne Sweeney is such a credible source in such a prominent position in the Disney family will show readers and Marianne that Disney is serious about the situation concerning Miley. Here would be the first entry into Marianne Paskowski’s blog from Anne Sweeney.

Marianne and other Bloggers,

My name is Anne Sweeny and I am the Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and President of the Disney-ABC Television Group. There has been an ongoing conversation about the current pictures of Disney television star and artist Miley Cyrus’s recent photos in the late issue of Vanity Fair. I apologize on behalf of Disney and Miley due to the content of risqué photos that show young Miley in questionable poses. It was not the intention of Disney to prepare Cyrus for her future career as a young woman, the photos were intended to be tasteful and artistic, but nothing was portrayed in that specific light. Miley, still a young and hopeful rising actress and singer, still possesses the innocent and wholesome character seen in her “Hannah Montana” character on Disney. We realize that because of Miley’s current stature in the entertainment business, we owe the public more responsibility in terms of how we present her brand. The Disney brand has always encompassed morals that have been concurrent with the interests of the parents of America. We hold that image close to our hearts, and apologize dearly for damaging a brand that is looked up to by the youth of America. Thank you for all of your input Marianna and people of the blogosphere!

Anne Sweeney
Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and President of the Disney-ABC Television Group

That the blog entry by Marianne Paskowski on Miley Cyrus’s photos in Vanity Fair has sparked a 59-comment thread is significant. Clearly a message is being sent, and it is a message that Disney needs to address. However, Paskowski’s blog is not the correct venue to do it in. As a poster, the advantage of facelessness also lends itself to a lack of credibility. Even a poster identifying herself as a 13-year-old girl was met with a combination of acceptance and skepticism by Paskowski. This is because, as we all know, the internet provides a veil of anonymity that allows 60-year-old men to pose as teenage girls on chatrooms, and any disgruntled, or bored, or amused internet user can comment on a blog as if he or she was the entity being discussed.

A much better course of action would be to give Marianne Paskowski something to talk about on her blog. Send an undeniable message that Disney has heard the outrage of its viewers parents and will not tolerate letting them down. It’s time to terminate the cash cow. Disney needs to fire Miley Cyrus. And here’s why.

The fact that this Vanity Fair photo shoot happened is only another in a series of cracks that have been appearing in the Disney image since the Mickey Mouse Club days. Inappropriate Miley Cyrus photographs have been popping up for months now- photos she took of herself and put on her own Myspace page. Vanessa Hudgens, star of other Disney cash cow High School Musical, had nude photos of herself surface for the world to see. A photo of another fresh faced Disney sweetheart, Brenda Song, was found in the seedy back pages of a newspaper’s sex ads (although not of her doing). All these incidents cite the blurring of the lines between the world of Disney and reality, and each of these cracks leads the company closer and closer to becoming Nickelodeon, whose pregnant 16-year-old star has incidentally helped their viewership immensely. This is not what Disney wants, and if that day is truly approaching, it is a huge problem for Disney.

Can you imagine if similar scandals occurred to one of the Mousketeers? Disney would have distanced itself from the individual before you got done spelling M-O-U-S-E. Unfortunately, Disney has failed to continue to operate as a Mickey Mouse Club company in a Miley Cyrus world. And yes, it is quickly becoming her world. “Kathy,” one of the posters of Paskowski’s blog, wrote that she had a responsibility to the Miley Cyrus brand, and for that, she was irresponsible. That is not true. She had a responsibility to the Disney brand, to whom she is under contract. What she did was great for the Miley Cyrus brand- she has gotten millions of dollars in free publicity for looking beautiful and grown up. If anybody still thought of her as a tweenybopper princess, they don’t any more. Vanity Fair did not ask your permission to photograph your “product,” and that is because she is no longer truly yours. You made her, but you don’t get to keep her.

Unfortunately, it is not about the percentage of Miley’s back that was showing in the photos, or what ratio of Disney’s public is offended or not. For Disney, it is all about image and image alone, and Disney’s image has, up until this point, been synonymous with family values. To do anything BUT monitor the stars’ every move, both on and off the set, would be a betrayal of the Disney brand and all that it stands for. And if you can’t do this, perhaps it is time to go back to all animated characters. Disney is at a fork in the road where they must choose between the Walt Disney values upon which the company was originally founded, and the Michael Eisner approach of turning a profit at the sacrifice of those values. To terminate Disney’s relationship with Miley Cyrus would be a poor financial move and a rich morality move. Just look at the namesake of this company and the decision will be clear. It’s sure as hell not called Eisnerland, and there’s a damned good reason for that.

Disney child stars are not free agents, able to go into whatever bar or club they choose so long as they only drink “water.” No- Disney’s pristine values have typically been what sets it apart from the rest of the world, and it is vital that they retain this. It is a marketing point, if nothing else. Disney has a responsibility to its publics to be never-never land, and despite what it says about its family-friendly values, its actions are what truly define its beliefs. Disney is only as good as the people- the children- who represent it. By not speaking out against the Miley Cyrus photographs, Disney is aligning itself with bare-backed seduction, whether “artfully” done or not. And as soon as you starts justifying your stars’ inappropriate off-screen behavior as you did with Vanessa Hudgens, you have become every other major network or motion picture studio sympathizing with its starlet’s latest jaunt to rehab. When the Hudgens scandal erupted, a Disney spokesperson said that she had apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment, and they hoped she’d learned a valuable lesson. How like Disney, to tie everything up with a beautiful moral bow. And yet another crack. What we’ve seen here is a baseline shift that has occurred ever-so-slowly away from the values upon which it was founded.

If Disney fails to take action to cut its ties with Miley Cyrus, they will find themselves on the same level as Donald Trump forgiving a drug-addicted Miss America and sending her off to rehab with her crown still on her head. It doesn’t matter if the world see’s what Miley did as infinitely more innocent than the actions of Tara Conner. To Disney, and all that it stands for, it is just as detrimental. And Disney is clearly not a company that defines its actions by the opinions of the world, anyway. For years, it balked at advertising to young children even when its biggest competitor profited enormously from doing so. Disney is a company that holds its strength of character over profits, and you iare now laying its reputation on the line, offering it for sale as long as Miley brings in big bucks. This is a terrible, terrible mistake, and ultimately the profits that leave with Miley will be miniscule in terms of the compromise to the Disney name if she stays.

As executives at Disney, you have been charged with something sacred, and that is the values that comprise the very core of that which is the Disney brand. As such, it is time to move on. Miley Cyrus and the Disney image are no longer synonymous with each other. This is ok. Both entities have done great things for each other. Throw her a graduation party and put her on a cruise ship from Hannah Montana land to the wide world of Hollywood. They’ve already claimed her as their next “it” girl anyway, so it’s time for her to go. Fifteen is a lot older than it was for kids of that age fifteen years ago. If she doesn’t go soon, she’ll be past her prime anyway.

The book Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoebel talks about the importance of blogs and two-way conversation to any company, and Disney is certainly no exception. They also advise to “hallow thy customer” and create a community and dialogue among its customers. They say to make the world, or at least your industry, a better place. Blogging facilitates all of these things, and blogging is what Disney needs to do. But not on Marianne Paskowski’s blog, or on any of the other multitude of blogs on the Miley Cyrus scandal. What Disney unequivocally needs to do is reign in all of these conversations into its own “Parents Advisory Blog,” which will serve as a forum for anyone with an opinion on all things Disney, including parents, industry, even Marianne Paskowski. The name of the blog is simply an homage to the group that decides the viewing habits of the audience that gets so much of its entertainment from Disney companies. This blog will be an ongoing, two-way dialogue between a rotating group of posters from both inside and outside the House of Mouse, and anyone who wishes to comment upon it. The power of boundary-setting needs to be returned to the families, and as such, the blog will be required reading for a group of Disney programmers and other representatives. It is vital that this be a true discussion, not just contrived to look like one. It is time to get this conversation started.

And now we are back where we started, with Marianne Paskowski. She writes that no apology is necessary from Miley Cyrus for the photos. And later, she cites a Geraldo Rivera report on Disney’s supposed exploitation of children, and says “a pox on the house of mouse.” To this industry powerhouse, Disney and Miley are no longer one in the same. What more of a testament could you need. Miley would have left you in a few years anyway. She is the world’s star now, and you need to act quickly to shed her and retain all that you stand for and were founded upon.

Dear Anne Sweeney,

This is Patti McTeague, head of Public Relations for Disney Channel and I would like to offer a few words of advice in handling the recent Miley Cyrus controversy. Since its creation, Disney Channel has provided squeaky clean, wholesome entertainment for a very young age group, even after other children's stations such as Nickelodeon, decided to move in a more mature direction. With this said, Disney is going to have to make some major changes in the way it handles its stars, fans, and public relations operations.
Our world today is much different than the world five years ago. New communication technology, specifically the Internet, has allowed people instant access to information and people they never knew existed. We now live in a society of bloggers and Internet savvy 7 year olds, where traditional public relations has been forced out the door. In the past, Disney could have gotten away with blaming the magazine and Miley Cyrus’s publicist as exploiting her and making a bad decision with putting a story in Vanity Fair and fans would eventually forget about it, but blogging changed that. People now have access to every detail of the situation, from all sides involved and are completely aware of the fact that both Miley and her entire team were aware of what the photos looked like and even saw the on set. Personally, I don’t believe the pictures were that controversial for a 15 year old and that this was just another additive to the iceberg that has been quickly forming with not just Miley, but all virginized teen stars and for Miley, it finally peaked above the surface with the leaking of the more sexual photos of her following Vanity Fair.
Disney has been catering to conservative families forever and now is facing one PR disaster after another, with all its TEENAGE stars growing up in the spotlight where they are bound to make mistakes, it is no wonder that Miley did these photos when every move of her life is being created by a publicist in many ways as if she was 30 years old. Well now you have a 15 year old that thinks she is 30, hint Vanity Fair’s audience. If Disney wants to uphold its squeaky clean virgin image, it either needs to find younger stars that are within the age limit of its viewers, or have better control over the outside lives of its stars. Where was DIsney's PR team on the photo shoot and how the hell did they not know about the photos, or at least that’s what they claim? Based on bloggers responses, this is more of a problem for Disney and Hannah Montana than Miley. The majority of bloggers understand she is 15 and is acting like any other 15 year old, what the bloggers don't like is that she is also the role model for 6-12 year olds. Disney needs to realize that it can’t make a 15 year old act like a 7 year old and allow her to grow up, when she is growing up in the public spotlight where every move she makes is being recorded and watched.
Disney's lack of response to the leaked photos after the Vanity Fair shoot, combined with their automatic blame of the publicist and magazine were bad and outdated moves. As I will re-emphasize this is a different world than 5 years ago and while in the past, Disney could have gotten away with their bad excuse because no one would have had the information to question them, blogging changed that. Disney needs to do a better job addressing its fans and most importantly their parents, find out what they want, connect on a personal level, and most importantly either apologize for not stopping the shoot and promising fans that they will have more control over public displays of their stars and send their own people to similar shoots. Disney could also, admit it was a bad decision, tell the truth that they knew the entire time, as the public believes and explain that Miley jumped the gun on trying to reach older fans by doing a shoot in VANITY FAIR, which most likely none of her Hanna Montana fans had heard of, considering most of them can't read at that level, let alone would want to read Vanity Fair.
On Miley’s side, while she apologized it seemed scripted and forced, again the public knows she saw the photos beforehand, agreed to them, as well as her team, so stop denying the truth and tell the people what they want to hear IT WAS A BAD DECISION TO DO VANITY FAIR BECAUSE OF MY HANAH MONTANA FANS. This apology should be from her dad and publicity crew TOO, as the public believes they make her decisions not her.
Also, Miley and Disney need to do a press conference allowing parents, fans, and teens ask real questions concerning not just the controversy, but teen role models in general. As I said above Miley's apology seemed fake, so her entire team including Disney, needs to reconnect on a personal level with most importantly, parents, as they are the ones actually angry.
Again, I’m going to say this one more time, as it is Disney’s main issue, this is a different PR world and family companies like Disney that cater to a young audience with conservative parents need to rearrange their priorities and rethink their PR, marketing, and publicity. It is time for teen stars to be open and honest with parents this is a different world than even 5 years ago and there is no way to prevent your small children from being exposed to sexual imagery when it covers the streets, TV, games, and the Internet. It is time to give these teen stars playing preteen roles a break, it is not realistic to think that a 15 year old is never going to be in a bathing suit or curious about her sexuality when a large portion of teenagers in the US have already lost their virginity by that age.
So what should Disney specifically do? As I mentioned above, address its fans, create their own blog and actually respond to fans. Hold press conferences where parents, fans, and anyone else can ask question. Do a survey, find out exactly what the people want and implement that. Maybe, parents want younger stars that are closer to the age of their target audience, to be their children's role models.
While this doesn’t pertain specifically to Miley, I’m going to point it out as Disney and the rest of the U.S. entertainment industry needs to think about it. Look at Europe and Australia, where nudity and sexuality are accepted as a natural thing, it is time for the U.S. to leave its conservative isolationism and start teaching kids at an earlier age the significance of sex rather than abstinence, we need to stop putting our celebrities in these virgin idolized roles that are unrealistic in this day and age and any teenager is bound to break. Not to mention the permanent emotional backlash it creates, LOOK AT BRITNEY SPEARS. Now I might be wrong, but I believe that the U.S. has the highest STD rate, abortion rate, and teen pregnancy, shouldn't that be a hint that we are not providing the tools, education, and support for this generation

Montana :

Dear Marianne Paskowski,

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to speak openly through your TVWeek blog to your readers. As head of public relations for the Disney Channel, I appreciate the level of experience and expertise that your readers bring to all of the information that reaches them.

We have issued an apology to our viewers for the Miley Cyrus matter because we understand that Miley Cyrus is a symbol to so many girls and young women of a wholesomeness that is often difficult to find in our society. As a 15-year-old role model to so many, she is aware that her actions have a tremendous impact and must be carefully weighed. We continue to maintain that her choice to be involved with a certain publication in a specific photograph was not well considered.

In sum, the Disney Channel regrets that the image of a role model may have been compromised in the eyes of her fans and we apologize to our viewers and their families. We understand that their trust must be regained and we are committed to earning that trust with programming and a philosophy that meet our viewers’ expectations.

Sincerely,
Patty McTeague
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Risks of joining the conversation:
The risks are allocating limited time, energies, and expertise to reaching Ms. Paskowski’s audience, largely media professionals whose opinions on the Miley Cyrus matter are most likely fully formed at this point in the discussion. Every conversation we participate in represents a lost opportunity to allocate our limited resources to another audience through another channel. The impact of a Disney Channel representative participating in the TVWeek Blog on the TVWeek Blog readers is insignificant compared to the impact our representatives can effect in other settings.


Rewards of joining the conversation:
By participating in the conversation we demonstrate to influential industry professionals that the Disney Channel is committed to our audience, to Miley Cyrus’ fans, and to their families. We demonstrate our level of commitment by responding at every opportunity to explain our position on the matter and helping our audience to understand our point of view. Communicating with TVWeek blog readers allow us to confirm our apology and to remind media professionals that the Disney Channel understands that Miley Cyrus has become a symbol of wholesomeness to her followers and that as a role model, her actions have a tremendous impact on preteens and teens across America.

Risks of avoiding the conversation:
The Disney Channel’s silence could be misconstrued as an admission that we agree with Ms. Paskowski point of view, namely that the photograph was not inappropriate and not of symbolic value to Miley Cyrus fans. By not participating in the conversation, we lost the opportunity to explain that we understand that a star can become a role model with so much influence on girls and young women that she is held to a different standard than an ordinary 15-year-old.

Rewards of avoiding the conversation:
If our efforts to represent our perspective on the matter and to apologize to our followers are focused on reaching our audience directly, we may find that we have responded to the crisis most productively. The readers of Marianne Paskowski’s blog are seasoned professionals, not our viewers and their families.

In sum I recommend that we enter the conversation in order to demonstrate the level of commitment of the Disney Channel. A response on a blog is an effective means in terms of time and cost to reach a broader audience with our consistent, committed response to our viewers. Our participation demonstrates that we are prepared to respond as often as possible to the public debate in order to assure families that we understand their concerns.


Marianne :

Chapman Students,

I have really enjoyed being a part of your final exam. You taught Professor O'Connor and me a lot.

I have some thoughts about your thoughts. I think Taylor wrote in his letter from Disney, he used the word "scandal" to defend the company's position.

Big no no. Disney does now have scandals:}

Somehow, quite a few of you missed the point that I never said boo about "child exploitation." I think Scorpio pointed that out.

Here's the real deal. Patti will never respond to any of this or her bosses. The crisis has passed, for the moment.

But I'm sure Cory, as well, as me, expect you to watch with eyes wide open, and I appreciate your comment up here. The world is reading.

You are all aspiring journalists or public relations people. There's always a tug of war between the two camps.

Disney, today, doesn't act like it recognizes that nuance. Their motto to me seems to be my way or the highway.

So Chapman students, I want to hear about your grades, and invite you to revisit the many topics on this blog.

They won't be as exciting as Miley. But maybe, you'll learn something about Wall Street and how business really works.

You guys rock,

Marianne

Hannah:

the pictures are unacceptable...im 16 and it looks like shes waking up from having sex...i dont wanna see that..ewww miley...you should have thought more on your decision

patricia:

comon ya'll give the girl a chance i mean i think that was a mistake ya'll eready know every body make mistake no body ain't perfect like she said .so 4 give her but make sure dat she don't mess anymore i'll br happy with all my pleasure 2 4give her cause i love her so mush!!!!!!!!! that ain't gonna be nice if she ain't der ? i think that ya'll feeling my pain i no dat wat she did wasn't in our pleaures


support her please!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????

Sharon:

Sharon:

The pictures are inaproprent. Hannha raelly looks like she just needs a break from thoes (picture or pictures.)Sha dosn't need people to see her like that. If I was to fire you I would. That just mad me mad.

Hi Sharon,

What makes me mad is that no one from Disney bothered to show up for this conversation in Marianne's blog. It's their brand being bandied about in here, where it is being defined not necessarily as they would like it to be.

Last week Disney CEO Bob Iger, in an effort to improve Disney's P/E ratios, made an appeal to Wall Street to think of Disney as a consumer products company like Procter and Gamble or Coca-Cola. But Wall Street isn't buying it. The "smart money" still thinks Disney is a "hit-driven" enterprise, vulnerable to the whims of a fickle audience and the behavior of its unpredictable stars. This photo incident with Miley Cyrus reinforces to Wall Street the impression that Disney's cash flow is vulnerable in ways that Coca-Cola or Charmin' toilet paper are not.

And where, exactly, does Wall Street get these impressions? More and more in blogs like this one. Disney should be in here, as should Cablevision and Lifetime and whomever else Marianne chooses to blog about. It's a conversation and they're the topic. Why wouldn't they participate?

Hi Marianne,

Different month. Different children's cable network. Different 'tween celebrity in the news.

This week Nickelodeon's biggest star, 17 year-old Jamie Lynn Spears, star of Zoey 101, made the cover of OK! magazine for giving birth to a healthy baby girl named Maddie. The cover quotes Spears, "Being a mom is the best feeling in the world."

Here's what you wrote in April (above) about the provocative Vanity Fair pictures of Disney's 'tween star Miley Cyrus:

What is the big deal? I saw the Annie Leibovitz photo of Cyrus that showed only her bare back, with the rest of her body gracefully wrapped in a sheet. I call that art.

According to published reports, parents with 6- to 14-year-old daughters are up in arms over the photos because Cyrus is supposed to be a squeaky-clean role model and a haven of safety for children.

Do you feel the same way about the unwed Jamie Lynn Spears on the cover of OK! holding her newborn?

Same as Miley?

No big deal?

Is this art, also?

chloe:

MILEY CYRUS ROCKS SHE IS MY IDIOL SHE DOES NOT HAVE ANY NUDE PICS PLUS SHE GOT KICKED OFF OF HANNAH MONNTANS VANNESA DIDNT GET KICKED OFF OF HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL AND SHE ACTUALY HADE NUDE PICS VANNESA SUCKS I AM DEFINATKY BUMBED THT HANNAH MONNTANNA GOT KICKED OFF HER OWN SHOW AND THT JOJO IS REPLACING HER YUCK WELL JOJO IS 0K BUT I LIKE HANNAH MONNTANA IS BETTER AND I AM SURE EVERY BODY AGREES WITH ME RIGHT RIGHT

Diana:

Honestly,
Miley Cyrus is great. Miley Cyrus isn't doing anything bad. All she is doing is showing her back. I see 12 year old girls and younger showing their backs. its normal. Hear me out,
Miley is innocent! Miley is no bad influence. She has her own unique style. If she was showing cleavage, or her pubic area, then get mad.
Showing your back is no big deal. she has a strict father and an understanding mother, if it was wrong, do u think they would allow her to do it? she isn't on playboy! SHE IS CLEAN!

thnx 4 lsntnng

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