Miley Cyrus Criticized for Posing in a Joshua Tree and Potentially Causing Damage
Miley Cyrus might've just been monkeying around while posing for a recent shoot in a Joshua tree, but some fans are taking it far more seriously.
The "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" singer, 26, shared pictures of herself sitting in a Joshua tree in an undisclosed location on Instagram on Tuesday, raising concerns that she could have potentially caused damage to the tree.
"Looking down at all the petty drama like…" Cyrus captioned her first post, which shows her looking down at the camera from the tree branch above wearing what looks like a floral onesie.
Six hours later, she posted a second photo which shows her hanging from a branch of the tree with the caption, "Monkey Bizzzzznassssss."
Cyrus has since turned the comments off on her posts, but Mojave-Desert Land Trust executive director Geary Hund told USA Today in a statement that Joshua trees have a shallow root system and that additional weight can damage its branches.
"We ask that Miley Cyrus consider her status as a public figure and remove this photo from her social media accounts in order to educate others and to prevent potential damage to Joshua trees," Hund said in the statement.
Susan Burnett, who manages Mojave Sands hotel in downtown Joshua Tree, told the Desert Sun, "I admire Miley Cyrus so much but, as a community, the people of Joshua Tree have tried so hard to educate the general public about the desert and Joshua trees, specifically and this just feels like a monumental setback."
"There is no way to erase the idea her image presents that climbing these endangered plants is cool," she continued. "I'm counting on her to help make this right and use her platform to help us preserve these ancient beauties."
While it's unclear where Cyrus took the photo, the trees are protected in Joshua Tree National Park in California.
"We know that Miley visits the park occasionally," Joshua Tree National Park spokesman George Land told USA Today. "We're not sure where that tree was (including if it was in the park)."
"While we would appreciate it that people would respect the fact that desert vegetation is a little bit fragile at times, we don't want to incite people to carry out some kind of threat against Miley Cyrus, or anybody else that would do that," Land continued. "We would just remind her that she has a big following, people watch what she does, and it would be greatly appreciated by the Park Service and the people around the area if she would maybe curb that type of activity, especially posting it on her social media page."
As NBC Los Angeles reported in January, portions of Joshua Tree National Park were damaged during the partial government shutdown and a number of trees were found toppled over.