NEW YORK (AP) -- Miley Cyrus is responding to criticism that she mocked Asians in a photograph of the tween star stretching the corners of her eyes.
"In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity!" Cyrus wrote Thursday in a posting on her official Web site. "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." The photo, making the rounds online, shows the "Hannah Montana" star and five friends squinting their eyes into a slanted expression. An Asian man sits next to Cyrus, not participating in the group pose.
The OCA, a group dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well being of Asian Pacific Americans, criticized the 16-year-old star this week for setting "a terrible example for her many young fans" by "mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent." In a statement, OCA executive director George Wu said the group hopes Cyrus will apologize to her fans.
"Well, (I'm) sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!" Cyrus wrote. Cyrus, who was 13 when she started in the role of Hannah on the Disney Channel show, said she thinks the ordeal would be overlooked if it was someone else and not her. "I definitely feel like the press is trying to make me out as the new `BAD GIRL'!" she wrote. "I feel like now that Britney is back on top of her game again, they need someone to pick on! Lucky me!"
Phone and e-mail messages to Cyrus' representative were not immediately returned. This is the latest image to get the tween role model in trouble. Last April, several shots by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair sparked national outrage. The cover showed Cyrus, then 15, wrapped in a sheet with a bare back and shoulders.