It started with a compliment, when Miley Cyrus told Rolling Stone her "Wrecking Ball" video was "a modern version of Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U" video. Sinead responded to this perhaps ill-advised reference by writing an epic open letter to Cyrus, gently mansplaining "in the spirit of motherliness and with love" that in Sinead's opinion, Miley was being "pimped [and] exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent." Miley responded with a Twitter jab at O'Connor (and Amanda Bynes), trying to brush off Sinead's advice essentially by saying "she crazy" and providing some visual evidence of O'Connor's history with mental illness.
O'Connor, naturally, was offended by this. So she sent Miley another letter, this one a bit more aggressive than the first, demanding an apology, threatening legal action, and saying, "taking me on is even more fuckin' stupid than behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism." Miley again responded on Twitter, saying: "Sinead. I don't have time to write you an open letter cause Im hosting & performing on SNL this week. So if youd like to meet up and talk lemme know in your next letter. :)"
A next letter did indeed arrive! Sinead opened by saying, "I have no interest whatsoever in meeting you" and closed with, "Cease behaving in an anti-female capacity. You will become the victim of it shortly. Soon it will be you the media [is calling] 'crazy' .. and you will not enjoy it.. and you will appreciate people (like myself) standing up for you. Which I will be happy to do.. if you earn my respect today by apologising publicly."
This time, Miley responded during a spot on The Today Show, where she told Matt Lauer: "I think [Sinead is] an incredible artist, I think she's an awesome songwriter, and I was really inspired by her for my 'Wrecking Ball' video, which was what started the whole thing. I don't know how someone can start a fight with somebody who said, 'Hey, I really respect you. And I really love what you what you did.' 'You know what? You suck! I don't like you!' That was kind of crazy. But as I said, I'm a big fan of hers, so it doesn't really matter."
Not an apology, exactly -- plus, use of the word "crazy." Sinead's fourth letter was the longest yet, although it repeated a single theme: You were wrong and now you have to apologize publicly. Wrote Sinead: "You may disagree with what I advised you in my first letter.. That is your entitlement. However the letter was written in a spirit of motherly care. You're entitled to have told me to go fuck myself if u liked.. But to respond to it in a way that has caused so much personal harm and damage to me and to people who may struggle currently with suicidal feelings.. And to abuse Amanda Bynes .. is beyond my understanding, as is your refusal so far to apologise, along with your further calling me 'crazy' today."
To this, Miley did not respond directly. But when asked in an interview if she and O'Connor would ever "kiss and make up," Miley simply said: "I don't know. Are we supposed to kiss?"
Sinead's fifth letter answered that question right off the bat: "No, worry not," wrote Sinead, "there's no need for kissing.. But let me state again.. You're supposed to apologise for the mocking of any person who sought help, publicly or privately, to prevent themselves from committing suicide. You're also supposed to apologise for mocking people who are mistakenly or otherwise perceived to be mentally ill."
That was on October 14. Then, silence. But on November 5, Miley DID apologize. Not to Sinead, however. No, here Miley apologized to ex-fiancee Liam Hemsworth, with whom she was trying to re-connect. And -- as if taking additional inspiration from Sinead -- Miley's apology came in the form of what she called an "open letter" (it was, in fact, just a regular letter). And in that letter, Miley apologized for her "wild ways" and said she was "sorry for acting so mad."
For her part, Sinead has taken to posting subtweety pictures on Facebook, miming sex acts with vegetables, and flashing big freaky smiles that look a whole lot like those worn by Cyrus … or a crazy person.