The Stroke Association has responded after controversial pop sensation Miley Cyrus joked that she only stuck out her tongue so much because she “kept having mini-strokes”.
The singer made the comment to a lukewarm reception while presenting Saturday Night Live, during which she also featured in pre-recorded parody sketches which made light of her much-discussed “twerking” performance at the VMA awards alongside Robin Thicke, and mocked Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
One user on Twitter called the reference to strokes a “cruel joke”, while another warned Ms Cyrus that “strokes affect people your age, too”.
Today, the head of campaigns and policy at the Stroke Association Patrick Olszowski said: “Having a mini-stroke is no laughing matter.
“Around 46,000 people in the UK have a mini-stroke (Transient Ischaemic Attack) each year, with one in ten leading to a major stroke.
“Sticking out your tongue is not a sign of having a stroke… Having a stroke is a serious medical emergency. With the right care and support, as well as compassion from those around them, people can make fantastic recoveries.”
In addition to “mini-strokes”, the charity also said that around 150,000 people have a full stroke every year in the UK, and that it is the leading cause of severe adult disability.
The reaction comes after British mental health charities also criticised Ms Cyrus for her heated public exchange with fellow singer Sinead O’Connor, in which she appeared to make light of mental illness.
And after Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that his children were fans of Ms Cyrus’s TV character Hannah Montana, but that he was worried the performer herself was not a good role model, Ms Cyrus said on Saturday Night Live that the character was not coming back.
“But I can give you an update of what [Hannah’s] up to,“ Ms Cyrus said. “She was murdered.”
A former Disney actor, the comments are just the latest in a string of appearances seemingly designed to shed her squeaky-clean, child-friendly image.
Speaking on the topic of the VMA performance, she said: “I got a lot of letters from angry mothers, turned-on fathers…
“But there will be no twerking tonight. I used to think it was cool but now that all the white people are doing it, it seems kind of lame.”