Graphic Pic of Underage Miley Cyrus Might Land Perez in Prison

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 15, 2010

A graphically revealing photo of 17-year-old Miley Cyrus that gossip blogger Perez Hilton posted via Twitter might send Hilton to jail under child pornography laws, reported CBS News on June 14.

Earlier that day, Hilton posted the pic, which shows Cyrus in a compromising position as she clambers from a car. The photo is graphic, leaving nothing to the imagination, as Miley was reportedly not wearing underpants when the photo was snapped.

"Oh, Miley!" Hilton posted. The blogger warned his audience not to proceed if they did not wish to encounter an image they might find offensive, but legally the fact of his having posted the image could make Hilton liable under child pornography laws, the article noted.

Salon.com noted in a June 15 article that federal laws on child pornography carry a mandatory 15 year sentence. "We're not talking about a misdemeanor," attorney Jeffrey Douglas told Salon.com, adding, "You don't have to know what the definition of the law is; all you have to do is knowingly distribute the photograph."

Salon.com reported that images that have been manipulated can also fall under child pornography laws, if the finished image depicts an underage person with his or her private area revealed. And even if flesh-toned, form-fitting garments are worn, an image that looks like bare flesh can still be construed as pornographic.

The article reminded readers that ordinary people unwittingly violate child pornography laws all the time, and not out of a desire to produce or widely disseminate pornographic material. "As is often the case when you delve into the realm of child porn law, it's rather shocking what you can find," the article read, "from sexting teens charged as sex offenders to parents arrested for taking photos of their kids naked in the bathtub.

"If a 15-year sentence and lifetime registration as a sex offender seems a disproportionate response to what Hilton did, remember that scores of Americans face similarly disproportionate charges but don't have a recognizable, headline-making moniker," the article added.

Only days before, Cyrus had been covered in the press for a sheer dress she wore while filming a music video. British newspaper the Daily Mail ran several images of Cyrus in revealing outfits.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.