Taking a page out of Marlon Brando’s award show/advocacy playbook, singer Miley Cyrus made headlines at the MTV VMAs Sunday not for twerking, but for sending a homeless youth on stage to accept her award for Music Video of the Year on her behalf.
While Cyrus certainly raised awareness for homelessness and a Los Angeles-based organization called My Friend’s Place, she also unintentionally drew some negative attention on her date. As the spotlight turned towards Jesse Helt, Cyrus’ 22-year-old friend who left home and found himself living on the streets as he pursued a modeling career, it was discovered there’s a warrant out for his arrest in Oregon.
Helt pleaded guilty and served 30 days in jail for criminal mischief and criminal trespass in 2010, the Associated Press reports. A warrant was put out for his arrest in November 2011 when he violated his probation.
“He doesn’t make himself available to community supervision, and he takes off,” Polk County Director of Community Corrections Martin Silbernagel told the AP.
Helt’s mother told the Oregonian Monday that Cyrus had given her son money that he was using to travel home to visit his family. Police told Helt’s mother they are looking for her son with the intention of arresting him.
Here’s an excerpt from Helt’s emotional speech during Sunday night’s show:
I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know, because I am one of those people.
I have survived in shelters all over this city. The music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.