American singer Miley Cyrus’s father, musician Billy Ray Cyrus, thanked First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday after she met with him and the family of Tennessee teenager Channing Smith, the victim of alleged cyberbullying, at the White House on Monday.
“What an honor to sit [with] The First Lady at the White House. @FLOTUS Your sincerity was truly inspiring. You/your team were so engaged to Channing’s grieving father & brother & brought ideas/strategy to make the world a safer better place for the youth in America,” tweeted Cyrus on 19 November.
What an honor to sit w/The First Lady at the White House. @FLOTUS Your sincerity was truly inspiring. You/your team were so engaged to Channing's grieving father & brother & brought ideas/strategy to make the world a safer better place for the youth in America #JusticeForChanning pic.twitter.com/U7Pt6qTXzD— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) November 19, 2019
According to Cyrus, the singer’s team facilitated the organising of the White House meeting, which also involved Channing’s brother Joshua Smith, and his father David Smith, who all sat with the First Lady for more than an hour.
Fans on social media were split in their response to the Twitter post by Cyrus. Some applauded the musician and the First lady for their response to this “social evil.”
Now this is what I like to see. Props Billy Ray ♥️— jackie lee (@jackiiiielee) November 19, 2019
Very very cool :)— steve mahoney 😀 (@_steve3_) November 19, 2019
Proud of you dude— Larry Pancake (@larrypancake) November 19, 2019
Such an important subject. We should all lead by example and treat each other with respect. Thank you Billy Ray for doing this.— Lynn (@Lynn30969153) November 19, 2019
Proud of you BR. Our first lady is 100% Class!— Denise Ducharme (@DeeBee44) November 19, 2019
She is wonderful and working for America’s children.— Elaina Carlstrom (@CarlstromElaina) November 19, 2019
Others were left “unimpressed.”
You are too easily impressed.— ResistingFeministMom (@miscdeb) November 20, 2019
OMG, honored?????— Karyl Wilkie (@karyl_wilkie) November 20, 2019
“Old Town Road” suddenly not as cool.
@billyraycyrus is washed up and looking for relevance.— Rachel Cowap (@trixieEaton) November 20, 2019
Drop it Bill Ray— Ed Childs (@childsoncape) November 20, 2019
Some deplored the lack of measures on other important issues. They mentioned the vaping issue, the shelved ban on flavoured e-cigarettes, and gun control.
This is a great subject! What actions are being taken? Kids committing acts of violence all to frequently. Wether is bullying or gun violence, nothing is changing!— runnershigh26 (@runnershigh261) November 20, 2019
And then Donald said yes to pressure from supporters and NO to Vaping Ban on flavors. He doesn't want to loose Votes or money. She should kick his butt.— Dorris Langston (@dnl1946) November 20, 2019
Be Best ... start with her bully of a husband ...— Kevin Kilpatrick (@killernj13) November 20, 2019
I hv a better idea.... Ban Vaping.— 🧢VoteYang2020🧢 (@BetterUSA2020) November 19, 2019
Channing Smith, a junior at Coffee County Central High School in Manchester, Tennessee reportedly killed himself in September after learning that sexually explicit messages he had exchanged with another boy had allegedly been posted on social media by some of his classmates.
Before the messages were leaked, Channing had not discussed his sexuality publicly.
"They were graphic texts and there was no room for Channing to be able to claim it was a misunderstanding," his brother Joshua Smith had said.
The teen’s death sent shock waves through the community.
The news caught the attention of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, 58, who made a trip to Manchester to perform at a memorial for Channing.
Melania Trump had referred to Smith's death as "tragic" and noted her work against cyberbullying in a Twitter post.
“Highlighting online safety is one of my #BeBest priorities. Yesterday, [Billy Ray Cyrus] introduced me to the Smith family to hear about the tragic loss of their loved one from cyberbullying. Teaching positive online behaviors can ensure a safer future for our children.”
Highlighting online safety is one of my #BeBest priorities. Yesterday, @billyraycyrus introduced me to the Smith family to hear about the tragic loss of their loved one from cyberbullying. Teaching positive online behaviors can ensure a safer future for our children. pic.twitter.com/3p4HfdRtTX— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) November 19, 2019
The First Lady launched her child-focused “Be Best” initiative in May of last year, saying she would focus on “the many issues facing children today — one of them being the safe and responsible use of social media.”
The First Lady referred to social media as “an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives” that can be “destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.”