Miley Cyrus has blasted sick internet trolls for encouraging fans of Justin Bieber to harm themselves in protest to recent photos which appear to show the teen pop superstar smoking.
Images depicting the Baby hitmaker at a party, holding a roll-up cigarette - which some believed to be a joint - surfaced online last week (04Jan13) and caused controversy amid concerns Bieber was failing to set a good example for his young fans.
The apologetic 18 year old subsequently reached out to his Twitter.com followers, stating, "Everyday growing and learning. trying to be better. u get knocked down, u get up... i never want to let any of you down."
However, some malicious internet users at 4Chan.org took advantage of Bieber's apparent slip-up and launched an online campaign urging impressionable youngsters to cut themselves to draw the singer's attention.
"Cut4Bieber" became a trending topic on Twitter on Monday night (07Jan13) and attracted the concern of stars like Cyrus, who urged kids to "stop with this #Cut4Bieber self harming is serious". She also defended her pop pal from critics, raging, "Don't blame this on Justin, it's his life no one else's!"
She later removed the tweet, but on Tuesday (08Jan13) followed it up with the message: "If people are really saying they are gonna cut themselves cuz (sic) Justin Bieber could've smoked some weed the world really is coming to an end!
"I really hope this cutting s**t is just a bunch of punk a** haters that have nothing better to do & no one out there (is) harming themselves. If you are... seek help."
Cyrus was inundated with notes from sensible Bieber followers who assured her they were not influenced by the internet trolls, prompting her to respond, "I'm glad to know my friend has such dope fans".
The singer/actress wasn't the only star outraged by the prank - Michael Jackson's daughter Paris also pleaded with fellow Bieber fans not to take note of the sick joke.
She tweeted: "can we PLEASE stop this #cut4bieber epidemic!! seriously!! it's hurting way to (sic) many people and this whole thing is unbelievably ridiculous!!"
Bieber had yet to comment on the hoax campaign as WENN went to press.