Perez Hilton warned his readers that they should think twice before clicking a post on his website featuring a Miley Cyrus photo edited to appear that she wasn't wearing underwear. Now Hilton may be thinking twice about posting it in the first place.
The offending image has since been taken down, but the furor over the image is still brimming on the internet. Miley Cyrus is only 17, making it illegal to post pornographic images of her. The same holds true when it comes to illustrating or otherwise creating images of underage children.
Salon.com had an extensive chat with Jeffrey Douglas, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who specializes in child pornography cases. "We're not talking about a misdemeanor. You don't have to know what the definition of the law is; all you have to do is knowingly distribute the photograph," he said. "Under the law, that is still a crime and it is punishable just the same [if it is an edited photo]," says Douglas. "For instance, if you were to take the face of an 8-year-old and put that picture on the nude body of even an identifiable, fully developed adult porn star, it is child-porn punishable identical to if you took a photo of the actual child."
However, Santa Monica Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Cron told FoxNews that it is unlikely that Hilton would be charged with the crime - there would have to be an official inquest through the District Attorney or US Attorney's office. Also, Miley and/or her legal guardian could report it to a police agency. The FoxNews story also reports that ABC has pulled advertising from Perez' site but MTV said they plan to continue running campaigns - although they have slowly been filtered off the site as well.
Distributing child porn carries a 15-year maximum sentence.