Reruns of Sunday's live MTV Video Music Awards telecast will not include a brief backstage shot of host Miley Cyrus baring a nipple. "We can confirm that the Miley scene was removed for the West Coast airing of the VMAs last night and for all future rebroadcasts," an MTV spokeswoman told Newsday Monday.
The partial toplessness was visible during one of the controversial singer's many costume changes. An apparently startled Cyrus, 22, had failed to cover up as a backstage camera panned across her. As the image cut away to a shot of the audience, her voice could be heard saying, "What's happening? Oh, sorry."
Melissa Henson of the watchdog group the Parents Television Council said she believed the nipple baring was planned. "And oh, by the way," she wrote in a blog post on the PTC website Monday, "there's no way that was an 'accident.' "
MTV said it had no comment on the accusation.
In a statement, PTC president Tim Winter said the MTV telecast "chose to perpetuate blatant sexualization . . . and to celebrate the use of illegal drugs. MTV rated the content of the program as appropriate for a child as young as 14, though most parents of teens that age would find such a content rating preposterous."
He said the network successfully sought "controversy without regard to its impact on an entertainment environment that is increasingly toxic for children."
What impact any controversy had on viewership is uncertain. Despite airing on 10 Viacom channels, six more than last year, a half-million fewer people watched, according to TheWrap.com. Still, it was also the most-watched awards show on cable this year in MTV's 18- to 34-year-old target demographic.
Marijuana advocate Cyrus had closed the show with a song about pot, "Dooo It!," and announced that her new album, "Miley & Her Dead Petz," was available free online. The 23-song collection includes guests Big Sean, Ariel Pink, and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram.