Because one photo scandal just wasn't enough…
Miley Cyrus' affinity for candid-camera moments has landed her in hot water once again, this time over a photo in which the star and her friends are seen striking what appears to be a racially offensive gesture, but what the teen queen now insists is the media making "something out of nothing."
In the picture, which made the Internet rounds this week, Cyrus and her posse, including boyfriend Justin Gaston, are shown slanting their eyes en masse. An Asian American friend is the only person in the photo not participating.
At least one Asian Pacific American group has called for a public apology, leading Cyrus to take to her blog to defend herself.
"In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity!" she writes on her blog. "I was simply making a goofy face. When did that become newsworthy? It seems someone is trying to make something out of nothing to me.
"If that would have been anyone else, it would have been overlooked! I definitely feel like the press is trying to make me out as the new 'BAD GIRL'!"
And she doesn't stop there...
"Ive also been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces!" the punctuation-eschewing teen continues. "Well, Im sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!"
Which is apparently as close to an apology as Cyrus is willing to come.
Earlier this week, the 16-year-old Hannah Montana star came under fire for using a gesture that "sets a terrible example for her many fans," and "falls within a long and unfortunate history of people mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent."
"Not only has Miley Cyrus and the other individuals in the photograph encouraged and legitimized the taunting and mocking of people of Asian descent, she has also insulted her many Asian Pacific American fans," said executive director of OCA, the Organization of Chinese Americans, George Wu.
"The inclusion of an Asian Pacific American individual in the photo does not make it acceptable. OCA hopes that Miley Cyrus will apologize to her fans and the APA community for this lapse in judgment and takes the opportunity to better understand why the gesture is offensive."
But instead of addressing the criticism, Cyrus points a finger at her critics.
"I feel like now that Britney is back on top of her game again, they need someone to pick on! Lucky me! haha Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know what is on my heart. You guys know me and have been by my side every step of the way!
"You guys know my heart and know the most important things to me are my friends, family, fans and GOD! In NO WAY do I want to disappoint any of you! But when I have made mistakes in the past, I feel like Ive owned up to them and apologized."
Cyrus signs off by adding that she wished "everyone would stop focusing on my personal life and get back to focusing on what I love! Music and Acting!"
She'll be getting the opportunity for the former quite soon, as she announced this week she'll be performing a duet with pal Taylor Swift at Sunday's Grammy Awards. She also tells fans in her latest blog post that she hopes to go back on tour this fall.
(Originally published Feb. 5, 2009 at 7:35 a.m. PT.)