The close-up shot of Cyrus shedding a tear in the video was evocative of the 1990 Sinead O'Connor hit "Nothing Compares 2 U
," where the Irish singer also cries what she claimed was a real tear. Speaking with Rolling Stone
, Cyrus said of the "Wrecking Ball" video: "It's like the Sinead O'Connor video, but, like, the most modern version."
This statement prompted O'Connor to post an "open letter" on her website expressing concern that Cyrus was being "pimped," and was obscuring her talent. Sinead urged her not to let the music business "make a prostitute of you," adding, "Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited."
O'Connor also made reference to Cyrus licking a sledgehammer in this song's video and swinging naked on a metal demolition ball. "I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief," she wrote, "that it is in any way 'cool' to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. Please, in future, say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself."
Cyrus reacted by calling attention to O'Connor's history of mental illness and public meltdowns by means of a screengrab of several tweets O'Connor sent out in the past asking for mental help and prescription medication, as well as comparing her to another celebrity with mental health issues, actress Amanda Bynes.
O'Connor did not take kindly to the reply and her response was to pen a second open letter, referring to Cyrus as "a danger to women" and threatening her with legal action over her "bullying" tweet.
Cyrus cut off communication with two more Tweets, the first explaining that she was too busy to write a letter as she would be appearing on Saturday Night Live
(a show O'Connor was banned from for tearing up a picture of the pope on her appearance), and the second stating, "if youd like to meet up and talk lemme know in your next letter. :)"