During this week’s CMA Awards, ABC repeatedly censored the line “roll up a joint…or don’t” from Kacey Musgraves’ performance of critically acclaimed single “Follow Your Arrow.”
During Sunday’s US broadcast of the MTV Europe Music Awards, the network, despite airing on cable and having a far edgier reputation, cut a joint-related moment from its own broadcast.
Demonstrating little technical expertise, the network made a jarring cut during Miley Cyrus’ acceptance speech for “Best Video.” The censored moment, as confirmed by those who were either in attendance or saw an earlier feed, involved Cyrus lighting up and smoking what appeared to be a joint on stage.
Because the EMA ceremony took place in Amsterdam, there would have been no legal issue even if Cyrus’ cigarette indeed contained marijuana. But given the taboo surrounding marijuana use in America, particularly when done in a youth-skewing arena like an MTV awards show, the network decided not to air the suggestive segment for US viewers.
Cyrus, who was billed as the featured attraction at the EMA, won Best Video for her “Wrecking Ball.” She beat out Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Up in the Air.”