By Jessica Goodman
August 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images

It was the most explosive moment of the 2015 MTV VMAs — but what went down behind-the-scenes?

During Sunday’s telecast, rapper Nicki Minaj called out VMAs host Miley Cyrus for an interview Cyrus gave last week to the New York Times, in which she said Minaj’s comments slamming the year’s nominations weren’t “very nice.”

“And now, back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me in the press,” Minaj said after accepting her award for Hip-Hop Video of the Year. “Miley, what’s good?”

While Cyrus kept her cool during the surprise moment — “We’re all in this industry. We all do interviews. We know how they all manipulate,” she said — EW has learned it was a different story once the cameras turned off.

“Miley stormed off stage cursing in anger after that moment,” an observer tells EW.

In the minutes following Minaj and Cyrus’ on-air tussle, Minaj took to Twitter to seemingly react to the moment. But was it scripted? A source told EW on Sunday that incident was not staged.

Despite sharing the surprise news on Sunday of her new album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, Cyrus has otherwise remained quiet on social media in the day since the show ended. Reps for the singer did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, but a second source tells EW, “Miley wasn’t furious. There wasn’t anything malicious about all of this in the first place.”

Reporting by Kevin O’Donnell.

This post has been updated to include additional reporting.

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