Miley Cyrus did something ultra special at this year's Video Music Awards and, thankfully, it did not involve twerking on Robin Thicke. Cyrus used the VMAs as a platform to shed some light on homeless youth and the organization My Friend's Place, which provides the homeless with food, shelter, and other services. The pop star's date to the VMAs was a homeless man named Jesse Helt who accepted Cyrus' Best Video of the Year award in honor of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in America, and implored the audience to make a difference by going on Cyrus' Facebook page and donating to the cause. The 21-year-old is clearly trying to make a positive change in the world — so why are people questioning her behavior at the VMAs?
It wouldn't be the VMAs without some controversy, and it appears that Cyrus' good deed has been called into question due to her date's alleged background. The Daily Mail interviewed Helt's mother about her son's time with Cyrus, and it caused quite a stir amongst Cyrus skeptics. According to Jesse's mother, Linda Helt, Jesse left her home in Oregon three years ago to make it as an actor in Los Angeles, only to struggle finding work. Eventually, Jesse was without a place to call home in Los Angeles — but, as his mother said, he was always welcome to come back to Oregon.
The allegation that Jesse Helt had a home to fall back on has angered many, including one writer at the website FishWrapper. According to FishWrapper, Helt's homeless story is an "insult" to the homeless who are without homes due to abuse, addiction, or poverty.
Helt left Oregon with stars in his eyes and aspirations of being on the pages of the magazines you read -- allegedly not because he didn't have a better, more stable option... [T]hough Helt said he was "homeless," "starving," and "scared," Jesse had the fallback of going home -- a home to which he was more than welcome, according to his mom -- anytime he needed to go.
The site went on to blame Cyrus for using Helt's story as a political tool so that she could revamp her image from last year's insane VMA performance, which, to be honest, is very easy to see it as. But while the "We Can't Stop" singer may be receiving praise for her charity work and Helt might not be the "right" kind of homeless, that doesn't negate the good work that Cyrus is doing for people who are struggling. She is a huge celebrity and has a lot of influence over her fans and peers, and I applaud her for using her fame in a positive way. We may never know the real story of Jesse Helt, but homelessness is real, no matter who it affects. So, please: Let's lay off Cyrus for this one, okay?