VH1 Edits Out Bizarre Mariah Clip

Lampooning of Carey's "TRL" appearance cut from "My Music Awards"

December 10, 2001 12:00 AM ET

VH1 has removed a Mariah Carey-mocking segment of its My Music Awards rebroadcast. According to the network, the editing decision was made because of re-airing time constraints, but the show's producer and the segment's writer cite pressure from Carey's representatives as the reason.

The awards show -- which took place Sunday, December 2nd, at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium -- included writer/comedian (and former Daily Show correspondent) Brian Unger's "Music 2001: What The Hell Was That?" interludes, in which he lampooned Carey, as well as Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, Wayne Newton and others. Unger's Carey cracks targeted a July 19, 2001 Total Request Live incident in which a giddy-looking Carey spontaneously tore off her shirt (revealing another, skimpier one underneath) to the obvious surprise of host Carson Daly. At this same appearance, before the release of her movie/album Glitter, the singer read a note from her mother to Carson (she also brought along a framed photo of mom) and repeatedly prevented him from cutting to a commercial by talking. Six days later, Carey checked into Connecticut's Silver Hill clinic for what her spokespeople called an "emotional and physical breakdown."

In the My Music Awards segment, Unger said, "What the hell was that? What appeared to be a mental breakdown was actually a breakdown in communication. Somewhere in this schematic of Mariah's publicists, managers, agents and handlers, the message 'Give Carson Daly a warm welcome' became 'Take your top off.' Thankfully, Mariah is back in control, and will fire the people responsible as soon as she learns everyone's name."

The reedited version of the show, which VH1 showed repeatedly this weekend, does not include the clip.

"Mariah Carey's people -- and there are a lot of them, but apparently not enough to keep her mental breakdowns off the air -- called [VH1 President John] Sykes and were offended by what I had to say, which tells me we were right on target," Unger says. "She was probably offended by the memory of this reality that took place on TRL, of peeling her shirt off while looking seemingly hopped-up on medication, of having this sort of complete implosion in front of millions of teenagers."

A spokesperson for VH1 denied that the singer contacted the network and said that such edits are "standard for re-airings" due to time constraints.

Jay Karas, whose Kanpai Pictures co-produced both the 2000 and 2001 My Music Awards for VH1, corroborates Unger's story. "It wasn't pulled because of time," he says. "It was pulled because Mariah and her people were upset about the piece. The show came in one minute and change over on the live version. There are a lot of easy ways to pick up two minutes in a show without taking content out."

A similar situation occurred following the 2000 My Music Awards, when a short film mocking Enrique Iglesias angered that singer's representatives. That segment was also subsequently cut from all re-airings.

As for Unger, he jokes, "What I'm really nervous about is that this incident will keep me from being able to attend Mariah's summer camp."

VH1 will next re-air their 2001 My Music Awards tonight at 10:00 p.m.

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