Miley Cyrus' raunchy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday in which she rubbed a foam fan finger between her legs shocked the world, but it particularly offended Steve Chmelar, who invented the "No. 1 hand" in 1971.
"She took an honorable icon that is seen in sporting venues everywhere and degraded it," Chmelar told Fox News
. "Fortunately, the foam finger has been around long enough that it will survive this incident. As for Miley Cyrus, let's hope she can outlive this event and also survive."
When he was just 16, Chmelar invented the No. 1 hand as a way to support his high school basketball team at the Iowa state championships. He never intended for the foam finger to become a worldwide symbol of fan loyalty, and he certainly never expected a 20-year-old former Disney star to use it as a phallic prop in a salacious VMA.
Chmelar, now 59 and a VP of commercial sales at a construction supply company, didn’t see the performance live on Sunday. A relative showed it to him after Cyrus made national headlines for her scandalous gyrating and barely-there outfit.
"I would say that [the performance] certainly misrepresented [the finger's] intent to encourage team support," he said. "For people who like that kind of entertainment, I'm sure that it met their needs."
Cyrus' on-stage antics drew wide criticism and an exceptionally harsh condemnation from MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski
"That young lady, who is 20, is obviously deeply troubled, deeply disturbed... probably has an eating disorder," she told Matt Lauer on Tuesday's "Today Show."
"There's pushing the envelope and there's raunchy porn that's disgusting and disturbing, and seeing a 20-year-old young woman in the process of her undoing."
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