Dutch authorities have launched an investigation into whether a smoking ban was violated after US pop star Miley Cyrus lit up what appeared to be a joint on stage during the MTV music awards in Amsterdam.
“We received complaints about smoking which was also seen on television. We have to investigate,” Tjitte Mastenbroek of the National Food and Consumer Authority (NVWA) told AFP on Tuesday.
“We will shortly be meeting the Ziggo Dome’s management to check what exactly happened there,” he said, referring to the venue.
Publicity-seeking Cyrus, 20, lit up what appeared to be a cannabis cigarette on stage during Sunday night’s MTV European Music Awards live show at the Ziggo Dome after accepting the Best Video award for her hit single “Wrecking Ball.”
Cyrus took what seemed to be a half-smoked joint out of her Chanel bag and lit it up inside the venue which can hold up to 17,000 people.
The incident was cut by MTV when it rebroadcast the show in the United States, preferring to show a wide-angle crowd shot.
Although cannabis is technically still illegal in the Netherlands, the country in 1976 decriminalised possession of less than five grammes (around a sixth of an ounce).
Mastenbroek said the consumer watchdog was investigating why Cyrus lit up in a smoke-free area.
“There is a smoking ban in public places in the Netherlands. Employees have the right to a smoke-free environment and this includes camera and sound personnel,” he said.
“After meeting the Ziggo Dome’s management we will decide whether possible steps will be taken,” Mastenbroek added.
Ziggo Dome spokesman Danni Damman said the venue had a strict non-smoking policy and security personnel would ask any smoker not in a designated area to put out a cigarette at once.
Cyrus’ lighting up “caught us by surprise. It’s not easy to interfere in a moment like that,” he told AFP.
He said the venue had not yet received word from the NVWA. “Once they have contacted us we’ll be able to say more,” he said.
The MTV Europe Awards are held each year in a different European city and will be hosted next year in Glasgow, Scotland.