By Philip Cosores
A billboard to be posted in Los Angeles features a picture of Cyrus sticking her tongue out. “Why is Miley Cyrus so twerked off?” it asks. “Maybe it’s because so many California teens will lose their jobs when the minimum wage goes up.”
The political message is fighting a California policy to increase the lowest wage to $9 per hour as of July 1 and then up to $10 per hour in 2016.
The problem here (potentially) is that Cyrus has not endorsed this message or cause. The pop rebel has not yet spoken out against it, but the designers of the ad, which will be placed on Sunset Blvd. near La Cienega early next week, don’t see a problem with that, since they obtained the image legally.
LA Weekly spoke with the research director of the Employment Policies Institute, who admitted, “We haven’t checked with Miley on whether the minimum wage increase is the real reason she’s ‘twerked off.’ We’re not attributing this particular point of view to her — we’re just using a fun turn-of-phrase to jump-start a conversation about the unintended consequences of wage mandates.”
And while he may think that argument will remove culpability from any potential litigation he faces, the Weekly also spoke with attorney Stephen M. Weinburg, who claims Cyrus’ stance on the issue will determine whether or not the institute will be in hot water.
“It’s okay to use something in an informational, First Amendment way,” Weinburg says, “but if you look like she’s endorsing it you could run into problems. If, in fact, this is not her position, then it may transcend First Amendment protection.”
The billboard’s point, that higher wages will mean teens losing their jobs, is a pretty antiquated notion of who is affected by the minimum wage and how the wage can be of service. But, the real opinion that matters here is Cyrus’, who has yet to make hers known.