According to E! and Billboard, Cyrus, who is younger sister to Miley Cyrus and a singer herself, used a derogatory term describing Black people’s hair while defending Styles’ Vogue cover on her Instagram Stories.
On Thursday, Cyrus returned to her Instagram Stories, writing that she was “mortified” at her comment.
“i am mortified that i used a term without knowing the context and history, but i know now and i am horrified and truly sorry,” she wrote. “i will never use it again. thank you for educating me. i in no way meant to offend anyone. i am so so sorry.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Cyrus’ reps for further comment.
Styles stirred debate on Twitter in November when he posed for the cover of Vogue wearing a lace Gucci ball gown. The former One Direction band member became the first man to cover American Vogue solo with December’s issue.
Among Styles’ critics was conservative commentator Candace Owens, who commented “bring back manly men” in response to the cover.
Earlier Thursday on Twitter, Owens accused Cyrus of referencing her in the post using the offensive term and challenged “woke liberals” to explain how Cyrus’ comment “is not racist.”
“You guys love cancel culture,” Owens continued. “@MileyCyrus come get your sister!”
Styles seemed to respond to Owens’ original criticism of the cover, posting a photo of himself on Instagram Wednesday in a pleated blue suit eating a banana with the caption: “Bring back manly men.”
Contributing: Sara M Moniuszko