This piece was inspired by an episode of The Cooler, KQED’s weekly pop culture podcast. Give it a listen!


The aphorism goes: your life can change in a split second. And no one knows this better than Janet Jackson, who went from pop music royalty to scapegoat pariah in a matter of 9/16th of a second, the blink of time her breast was accidentally exposed to an estimated 140 million people during 2004’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. What came after was a national overreaction that had very little to do with Janet and everything to do with America’s long history of sexism, racism and puritanism.

But before we get into all of that, let’s travel back in time to the early 1990s for a brief history lesson. The Halftime Show hasn’t always been a cultural institution. Back in 1992, the headliners were Dorothy Hamil and Brian Boitano. Who? you might be wondering. They’re figure skaters, who starred alongside gigantic snowmen and rapping kids in iridescent Hammer pants in a performance titled “Winter Magic.”

Unsurprisingly, this proved snoozy to a large portion of the audience. 10 million viewers switched over to another network to catch In Living Color instead.

The show’s producers knew something had to change if they wanted to keep raking in advertising dollars and remain relevant, so a plan was hatched: get Michael Jackson, who was on top of his game at the time, to perform the following year. The gambit worked; the last moments of Michael’s performance were the most viewed in history up until that point and the Halftime Show was revitalized as must-see television.

Fast forward 11 years, and it was Janet’s turn to carry on the family legacy of slaying at America’s most popular sporting event. She pretty much did that — although we forget — with live renditions of hits like “Rhythm Nation” and “All for You.” Then Justin Timberlake joined her on stage for a duet version of his single, “Rock Your Body.” At the point in the song when he sings, “Better have you naked by the end of this song,” he was supposed to pull Janet’s bustier to reveal a red lace bra, but both pieces ended up ripping off.

Then everyone got insanely mad at Justin for messing up. Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot about the patriarchy for a second. Let me try that again: then everyone got insanely mad at Janet for having breasts and no one ever really mentioned Justin again. For example, The Washington Post’s Tony Kornheiser wrote, “What Janet Jackson did was bizarre, deliberately flopping out of her costume like that.” Justin’s grabbing hand is entirely erased from the scene.

The senseless sexism didn’t end there. Janet was disinvited from that year’s Grammys. Meanwhile, Justin was not only allowed to attend, but also performed. Janet was blacklisted from radio and music video channels for the next several years, leading to multiple album flops, while Justin got to be goofy on SNL and become a movie star.

Justin had this to say about getting off scot free, thanks to his white male privilege: “I probably got 10% of the blame, and that says something about society. I think that America’s harsher on women. And I think that America is, you know, unfairly harsh on ethnic people.”

That last point brings up the fact that Janet’s first crime was being a woman and the second that she was a black woman.

In a 2009 study, Shannon L. Holland of Clemson University suggested the vilification of Jackson in the media followed the tradition of “the Jezebel” stereotype. For those of you who aren’t as woke as you’d like to be, the term refers to depictions of black women as lustful, promiscuous, insatiable and immoral, a characterization that was used by white slave owners to justify forcing female slaves to procreate and as a legal defense when raping these women.

We like to think we’re far removed from America’s dark past, as if printing (some of) the facts into textbooks absolved us and negated the impact of all of that history, but situations like the treatment of Janet after the Halftime Show prove that the struggle for civil rights for women and people of color is an ongoing negotiation. The oppression is still all around us; it has simply evolved and learned how to camouflage.

The anti-Janet uproar wasn’t just confined to talk shows, radio stations and op-eds, thanks to the efforts of Michael Powell, who was the chairman of the FCC at the time. He called the incident a “classless, crass and deplorable stunt” and effectively waged a culture war, which resulted in fining CBS $550,000, policing TV for “immoral” content, and implementing a five-second delay for all future live televised performances. The fine per indecency violation was raised from $27,500 to $325,000. All nine American network soap operas eliminated sexual storylines, ER re-edited an episode that featured some of an injured elderly woman’s breast and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was scrapped. It even got so bad that 65 ABC stations decided not to air Saving Private Ryan out of fear that the government would fine them for profanity within the script. Years later, Powell would say: “I think we’ve been removed from this long enough for me to tell you that I had to put my best version of outrage on that I could put on. Part of it was surreal, right?” Right.

Many people believed this witch hunt was a way to influence the election (spoiler: the conservatives won on a platform of “moral values” later that year) and distract the nation from the failing war in Iraq. Janet agreed: “There are much worse things in the world, and for this to be such a focus, I don’t understand. They needed something to focus on instead of the war, and I was the perfect vehicle for that.”

A familial connection that brings Janet’s concern into sharp focus: FCC head Michael Powell’s father is none other than Colin Powell, George W. Bush’s Secretary of State and one of the instrumental figures involved in selling the idea of the Iraq War. Things that make you go hmmm.

Thankfully, there were some voices that brought a bit of reason to the debate. The New York TimesFrank Rich wrote: “Let us be grateful that Janet Jackson didn’t bare both her breasts” and called the cultural climate “a wave of self-censorship on American television unrivaled since the McCarthy era.” And Robert Thompson, a professor at Syracuse, wrote: “Which do you think harmed children more: one second of a woman’s breast or 14 minutes of commercials showing how beer will transform your life into a magical, beautiful party? Or the multiple commercials on erectile dysfunction. I think the only children who got hurt were the children of the people who got fired.”

And this just scratches the surface. What about this double standard: showcasing breasts in Budweiser or Hooters commercials is deemed acceptable television because, in those contexts, the female anatomy exists solely for the pleasure and benefit of men. Step outside of that framework into any reality where the woman might be in charge of her sexuality or *gasp* enjoy herself and there will be a problem.

Over a decade later, Janet is just starting to recover. Her last album, Unbreakable, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and both the record and her world tour have been well received by critics. But she’ll most likely have to work against the damage done by that 9/16th of a second for the rest of her career, a tiny momentary blip that contains projections of some of the ugliest facets of America. And for this, we owe Janet Jackson a huge apology.

Nipplegate Revisited: Why America Owes Janet Jackson a Huge Apology 7 April,2017Emmanuel Hapsis
  • Very well-written and thank you for the insight. I wasn’t aware of some of the other consequences like not airing Private Ryan.

  • Tko Monroe-Hall

    very well written and informative article!

    • aidan morris

      not at all. read the comments. this article is biased and not reporting any facts.

      • Tko Monroe-Hall

        A “well written” article does not mean bias I not present. It means even with possible bias, I enjoyed the read and the writer wrote in a cohesive way.

        • aidan morris

          nope

  • Ray Harmon

    Great piece. She’s really been blackballed in the States and hasn’t deserved any of it.

    • Richard Dunnagan

      She deserved all of it, Ray. She tried to push the boundaries and incurred the consequences of that.

      • Heather McCrillis

        Really? Would this have happened to Prince or any other male performer?

        • Charli Bost

          It sure as hell would not have even happened to Spears….

        • 10songsblog

          LOL! I remember Prince using his guitar like a damn phallic symbol at halftime.

          Of course a women can ACTUALLY show her boob on TV even if she does get blackballed, hell she shoul probably show her vagina and only get blackballed. A man waving his penis around wouldn’t have been blackballed he’d have been arrested.

      • aidan morris

        agreed she and her team after the backlash lied that it was a mistake and it wasnt. she thought this would be edgy and it was stupid. she cannot sell out tours because she has like 4 okay songs. case closed

      • aidan morris

        agreed. she tried to pull a madonna, britney, xtina ( 3 way kiss) and it was the superbowl not mtv. This is why madonna still sells out tours and hold records and Janet tries to pretend she is an artist. She’s boring and only got a record deal because her brother is michael jackson.

        • Partycrasher

          Madonna and her fans are trash.

          • aidan morris

            you chose the name partycrasher- takes one to know one i guess.

        • Lenster Baxtor

          How would you how “boring” she is unless you heard her catalogue? They say hate is really unrequited love. Now if you had a brain and gave real criticism then we would be having an adult conversation.

        • Bradford

          “aidan morris” = white trailer trash….’nuff said/

          • aidan morris

            What does white trailer trash have to do with a topic about Janet and the Superbowl? Shaming someone for being white and living in a trailer? What is this a shitty 80’s movie. Get a grip loser.

      • Bradford

        Dude, what kind of drugs are you on? I wanna know, so I don’t do those drugs by accident. I’m stupid and evil and un-American enough already….
        (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

        • Richard Dunnagan

          Compelling, erudite and fact filled comment, Bradford. I’m happy to see that you read.

        • aidan morris

          Bradford everyone on all the threads you participate in does not respect you or care about what you have to say. Just remember that moving forward;) You’re nothing.

          • Bradford

            OK, NOW I see why your panties are all up side yo’ cracker azz- crack….
            Just curious – who pays you to troll and lurk here, aidan?….
            aidan with a small > a <……
            OK, punk, I'm nothing. There, you feel better now, kiddo….????….
            (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

    • aidan morris

      oh please dixie chicks were blacklisted. Janet is a liar with a shitty performance that no one cared for. she vapor.

      • Partycrasher

        The performamce was amazing, but I KNOW why they didn’t put Janet in the half time montage of the superbowl tonight, how come Madonna wasn’t in it? If yoy would get out of Janet’s ass you’d know that.

    • Jeffrey Tackett

      I’m guessing she’s been black-balled quite a bit in her time.

  • Strangevista

    Where is the art credit for the top pic?

    • Bear Rodehaver

      To the right of it.

  • So – who’s that sorry going to come from?

    White religious Americans have the FCC and MPAA by the balls – who’s going to say sorry? And why?

    And what’s with Janet’s Management who obviously failed miserably at preventing her from
    Doing this? Is a sorry from them going to help?

    This article lacks focus. A sorry changes nothing. Self-censorship will still prevail on US TV. Religious groups saw this as the network trying to push the envelope and they weren’t having it. Dusty old white male sports analysts weren’t either.

    Is a Sorry from Kornheiser, who has made a long list of misogynistic and derogatory comments since then on his show PTI, going to make it better? I say no.

    So who’s it going to be? Liberals who have rolled over and capitulated just to keep “smut” from everybody’s children? I’m German and let me tell you – the nipples on TV over here in the late afternoon aren’t permanently scarring children… Our TV landscape is 80% US shows and it’s a joke how they are butchered because of the apparently totally ok violence the US ratings bodies deem ok.

    So yeah – sorry Janet. But bobody is going to prevent this happening again. Because nothing has changed. The US is still prude as hell and nobody cares. But hopefully a sorry will make you feel better about it…

    • Partycrasher

      And that’s the point of this article! Not once did you mention JUSTIN, the WHITE BOY!

      • Thanks for not understanding my comment. Let me try more plain for you: the blame machine is focused on blaming women. A sorry will do nothing. How is blaming Timberlake too going to change anything?

        My point is: sex is harmless. That nipple was harmless. Saying sorry changes nothing. Putting equal blame on Timberlake changes nothing. Women would still be blamed.

        What would change things is changing the FCC and MPAA ratings bodies who are predominantly white and Christian. Change would be making them understand that sex is a positive thing.

        But you are just interested in equal crucifiction. Shame on you.

        • Anthony Bryce Graham

          You handled that well.

          • Partycrasher

            No he didn’t.

        • Heather McCrillis

          Thinking this is only about sex, LOL.

          • This all is OF COURSE about race and gender. Point out to me where I said otherwise.

            The point of my comment was: how do we fix this? With a sorry? Hell no.

            When it comes to the MPAA – the ratings body doesn’t really openly state how the people rating movies are put together. That’s why I mentioned the MPAA even though they have nothing to do with TV. So racism and sexism is blatant there. But they rate movies not TV.

            The FCC on the other hand is a government body. And then making it about race becomes quite tricky. You’d be hard-pressed to make it about race there.

            Then comes the self-censorship of TV networks – as mentioned, the backlash from religious groups was so fierce that the following years (up onto this day) everything live is run on a delay of at least seven seconds so nothing like this will ever happen again. “For the children”. But who pressed the networks to do so? Surely not the measly fines from the FCC. More likely the thousands of calls and letters to the stations but even more to the advertisers who were told advertising around “this” was not “family values”. And that’s a trigger you’d have a ton of trouble not resulting on the companies threatening to pull their advertising from live events. And when you look at what the networks are willing to pay for live TV these days (see also NBA contract with raised salary cap next years, College Football, Baseball, the contracts the Yankees and the Lakers signed) – because you can’t skip ads during live events like you can when you watch on your DVR – or even worse, Netflix.

            But then it gets murky. Religious groups for sure aren’t all just white. African Americans and Mexicans sure as hell are just as much about “family values” as white people. Try talking to a Latino about abortion. Good luck with that. And African Americans and gay rights? Better duck and cover. There’s been leagues of statistical data about who voted against gay marriage and abortion rights in the states so feel free to look that up and tell me I’m wrong, I’ll wait. Which is to say OF COURSE the white evangelical christians are the worst when it all comes to down to it but still – it’s not ONLY them.

            As for the rotation on private radio – like I said in another comment: radio doesn’t pay anymore because advertising is way down so you’re left with Sirius XM and FM/AM radio stations owned by christian groups. So good luck getting on their heavy rotation.

          • Heather McCrillis

            You didn’t mention Nipplegate using rape culture and the tradition of white men treating black women as property for this Superbowl act.

          • So your point is Janet didn’t agree to do this on stage?

            Care to elaborate on that? You think she was forced to do this?

          • Heather McCrillis

            She did, but if she complained beforehand (I have no idea if she did complain), her complaints wouldn’t have been taken as seriously as if a male performer would’ve complained about having his label and Viacom promoting any future albums.

            As to who should apologize, I’d say Viacom and the recording companies IF they are serious about stopping sexism and racism in the music industry. Otherwise, I agree that a fauxpology means nothing.

          • “CBS forced Jackson to release a video apology, and said “My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was made after the final rehearsal. MTV, CBS, [and] the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end. I am really sorry if I offended anyone, that was truly not my intention”. Jackson later commented, “Sometimes they cut out that I said it was an accident” when the statement was replayed in the media.[56] A written statement read,”

            That’s from Wikipedia, which isn’t really a source – I know. But it’s pretty apparent that Jackson and Timberlake had a thing going on and tried to be a little scandalous. Giving both the benefit of a doubt, the bra wasn’t supposed to come off.

            So I’m pretty sure you’re conjecturing here.

            Note please that I’m not saying that rape culture is a thing and that there’s a history of white men treating black women as property, it’s just that what happened doesn’t really fit into that. I’m sorry. Those two were in a spiral of hightening lewdness and most likely that was generating gangbuster sales so they thought they could take it a step further. I really don’t like how you take away Janet’s agency over her own life like this. She was a grown woman at that point (38) and Timberlake was 23.

            Just saying “She did” doesn’t really cut it.

      • AnonymousDaUnknown

        Exactly. Isn’t it telling? Its always Janet’s fault. Apparently Janet ripped her own tit out according to this fuqtard!

        • Partycrasher

          He’s stupid and only people who agreed are stupid and don’t want to see the point.

  • mike curt

    Good piece.

    • aidan morris

      shut up

      • mike curt

        You shut up!

        • aidan morris

          no YOU shut up!

  • Dakota Hendrix

    Just a heads up:
    Janet was effectively blacklisted from VIACOM which owns MTV, Vh1, BET, etc for years after this incident.

    Her first 5 albums all debuted at or went to #1, however during this period her next two albums *despite* the media blackout she was under both went to #2. And her newest album debuted at #1.

    Janet is hands down, without a doubt the most criminally underrated and unappreciated pop icon of all time.

    Her and Michael not only changed music and the music industry forever but they also laid down the blueprint that everyone after them would follow.

    Everyone from Mariah to Britney to Beyonce to Jennifer Lopez has offered Janet as one of their most important influences.

    She was an easy target, as a black woman, and the incident launched an era of stifling faux-morality.
    The Bush years were not kind to any of us, but its absolutely tragic that she should have had the brunt to bear.

    • aidan morris

      lol, Michael, hands down “changed” the music industry.Poor janet was given a record contract because she was a jackson and record labels know that girls buy albums as well. Madonna was huge and they needed a black woman to appeal to other black women. Janey is mediocre she has like 4 okay songs/hits other then that her discography is boring as is she. She cannot sell out a tour. Her art is reductive.

      • Partycrasher

        This is so stupid. “They needed a black woman…” You forgot about WHITNEY HOUSTON? Madonna fans will always be idiotic!

        • George Soros

          Janet/Madonna Whitney/Celine
          First 2 are known for their shows and skin
          2nd pair for their vocals

          If you’re trying to make a point, at least use people who’s styles are similar.

          • Partycrasher

            This would make sense if Janet and Madonna were actually alike.

          • George Soros

            Closer than using Whitney. Janet/Madonna/Britney/Beyonce… pick your pop poison.

      • Partycrasher

        You damn idiot. Her Control album just had it’s 30th anniversay. I suggest you check up on some articles on that. Even MTV tweeted about it and that album ushered in a whole new genre of music. That urban contemporary category of the Grammys and other award shows exist because of Janet’s “Control”. And the videos and performances? Please, that’s why singers started doing their video choreographed numbers on stage because of Janet! Even MADONNA started doing it. Not only that in the early 90’s, she tried to work with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, but they said no, and then she went to Babyface. JANET’S “Control” album was the album that turned those two into hot commodities. And oh, GOD, that Rhythm Nation video had so many copycats. Along with people using her look. It still gets copied today. She broke new ground that you Madonna idiots can’t bare.

        • aidan morris

          Sorry girl, Janet can’t sell out tours and has a fan base of three people like you that keep trying to make her happen. Her brother Michael was amazing Janet just has videos choreographed by Paula Abdul. #byefelicia

          • Partycrasher

            Sorry, but Paula only did 3 or 4 of her videos.

          • aidan morris

            and….lol. One would have been enough to make fun of. Thank’s for keeping count;)

          • Partycrasher

            Something Madonna never could do.

          • mike curt

            Aiden, do us all a favor…SHUT UP!!!!

      • mondaysundown

        Madonna had chutzpah alright…she stole music from budding artists, threw pretty much everyone who gave her a stepping stone under the bus and killed their futures and argued with icons like freakin’ James Brown at Music festivals. She’s disgusting. Even her son knows it.

    • Lenster Baxtor

      First off , an artist’s fans are indicative of the artist themselves. It’s disturbing how Madonna’s fans, like Madonna, trash her competition in order to make her shine bright or brighter than what she is. It’s almost psychotic. You rarely witness JANET fans do this. Janet’s fans seem to comment, defend and celebrate more. Truth.
      Dakota you commentary is the absolute truth. I have never understood why and how Janet Jackson continually takes the backseat to her contemporaries and those inspired and strongly influenced by her work. Thus article is amazing and thorough ,but needed to be written and paid to go viral (somehow) when the controversy was fresh, to be a sane voice amongst the mass insanity that tried to destroy her career. Janet and Michael both hands down changed the literal and cultural face of music but are and were never given credit for the reasons this article outlines. Let’s stop the madness! Accept truth! It’s okay!

  • Bill

    It surprises me that 12 years later, no one seems to have addressed
    what was the most disturbing aspect of the moment Timberlake ripped off
    Janet’s breast piece: The choreography of a man tearing off a woman’s
    clothing against her will while singing “gotta have you naked by the end
    of this song.” And it was done in front of millions of people as
    entertainment.

    I watched this live and that was the thing that immediately disturbed me, and I’m no prude. Seeing a man do that to a woman was horrible, even if the end result had been seeing a mesh bra and not the full breast.

    And that is why Janet should have been criticized. It was choreography
    she approved of, if not came up with herself. It was wrong. And
    Timberlake shouldn’t have agreed to it.

    The story goes that Janet really pushed for Timberlake to join her for the performance. Was
    having this moment in mind why they wanted him so badly? Was she going
    for her Madonna-Britney Kiss shock value (that moment had occurred not
    long before)?

    I’ve been a huge Janet fan since Control in ’86,
    my friends will confirm that, so would prefer to be fully supportive.
    And I still think the whole over reaction to her breast was ridiculous.
    But I can’t get past that visual of a man tearing off a woman’s clothes
    against her will, and in front of millions of people as ‘entertainment’.

    And that is something Janet approved 100%. She and Timberlake should both apologize for that, not for bearing a naked breast.

    • Brian Geiger

      Bill:
      “The story goes that Janet really pushed for Timberlake to join her for the performance.”

      First off, the infamous song “Rock Your Body” was by Justin Timberlake. The words in the song was
      “Hurry up ’cause you’re takin’ too long
      Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song”
      That was the words that led to Justin to the act. It was his song, and it was his act. Janet did not force Justin to produce the song.

      “And that is why Janet should have been criticized.”
      Given that the song was Justin’s, and the act was his, funny you find it fit to blame Janet. In the show, Janet did nothing, it was all Justin. I am talking about the performance here and not what was agreed upon, which we will never know.
      If you were disgusted by the act, would you not also be disgusted by the word in the song? I think the words in the song were very disgusting regardless of the act. But you only blame Janet for the whole thing just as the article said people were doing.

      • aidan morris

        it was her performance and she and her team are liars. this was choreographed and it failed. she’s basic.

        • Brian Geiger

          And Justin is an adult is he not? It was his song was it not? It was his song the dirty word was it not?

      • 10songsblog

        She agreed to it though it was her choreography. But I agree that Justin fucking participated and the like run off the a coward bystander with a better her than me attitude when it goes up in flames. He could’ve like stood by her and NOT performed on the Grammys either. I fucking hated him for how he acted after that fact.

  • Ephraim

    Wow! Talk about historical rewrite… I gotta go the other way on this. America does need to wake up, but not for the reasons others might think. Before that, this article is beyond absurd. This is just a flat out, pathetic, I might add, attempt to rewrite people’s view on a subject long enough after, that people haven’t given it much thought. In other words, people might say, “oh ya, I never thought of it like that”. When the reason why, is because while the incident was fresh, they would have had the details that dismissed that line of reasoning. Therefore, this article would have been beat to hell in about a second.

    First, off, people were mad at Justin Timberlake, and if he had exposed his jimmy with a black taped X over the tip, people would have gone after him just like Janet Jackson. They didn’t go after Timberlake as hard, because it wasn’t his exposure, despite his involvement; but people were angry and did blame him. As far as never hearing more about Timberlake, that is a flat out lie. He just wasn’t the primary focus, but was always included. Which goes back to distorting the facts after a length of time, because Janet would stand out more in memory. It’s a tactic used in manipulating memory of events.

    Second, anybody who argued it was a mistake, just had to be shown the video, where is is obvious that he pulls her shirt down, She obviously has a pre-included part of “wardrobe” such as a black taped “X” on her nipple, and neither respond with anything more than people expecting exactly what happened. Timberlake isn’t guilty of making a mistake or being grabby, except to do what she intended, which was to release her breast on TV. On TV, at a time when children would be gathered together and parents had a relatively safe idea of what was to come. A choice that was taken from them, regardless of someone else’s beliefs.

    But that isn’t even the worst part of this… Just like the Republicans were blamed for Monica, despite the fact that it was the Dems that caused it… Despite the fact that people were blamed for the OJ trials, despite the fact that most people were sick to death of it… The reason Janet was persecuted in the media, was not the people of this country at fault. It was the news media who created, played, and amplified both sides. It was the news media that kept the story going as long as they could and stirred up as much contention as they could, but America is not yet awake enough to identify and blame the right people.

    One more thing, Janet’s career had been dead long before this. It wasn’t over as quick as that image hit the screen. It was over long before and she was never able to get it started. Other careers have proven that if people keep being entertaining, everything is overlooked. Her brother was an example of that.

    • You’re right and you’re wrong. It was the media and the Pols who overplayed the false outrage and it was true that her career had waned earlier. But you remember the incident way wrong. She had no shirt on; it was a black leather bustier. He didn’t pull down, he pulled across, and only the right (her right) breast cup of it. It tore away so clean and easy and it was patently obvious that it was built as a tear-away snapped feature. There was no tape on her nipple, rather she had a metal sun burst nipple piercing. She immediately grabbed and covered her breast after exposure, with a look of dismay on her face. And finally… Naw, Timberlake didn’t get nothing of criticism… he says so himself. It was all dumped on her. But who was behind it all? I think it HAS to be the producers who wanted to make the half time show “Must watch TV” with an incident to up advertising prices for the next years to come. They abandoned her after using her… typical Hollywood maneuver.

      • Ephraim

        Ok, I remember the sun thing now. As far as referring to it as a shirt or pulling down, I remembered how that was, just didn’t put the effort in to detail. That limited detail was for the sake of effort and text. But I remembered the nipple cover wrong. I don’t remember the dismay on her face.

        *Update* I just looked it up for review, and the shock seems like choreography and she doesn’t just cover. It stays out there, and she put he hands on her stomach, then shot goes to fireworks (at least from the version I just watched). As for criticism, it would be interesting to know who Timberlake was talking about, because I remember quite a few stories on the news as well as street interviews focusing on the fact that he was obviously complicit in the exposure.

        But also, like I said, I think she was primary because it was her exposure and people didn’t believe it was not staged. If she had ripped open his pants and his dingle dong popped out, even covered in a sock, I think he would have been the one people went after.

        I agree with the producers theory, but they probably thought any publicity would help her, but I just don’t think she could be helped. After “Mrs. Jackson if your nasty” she just seemed to go downhill with occasional temp spotlights. I think if she could have produced a good album, that whole thing would have served her well. There were a whole lot of people defending her. I swear every female I know defended her, even though they didn’t believe it was an accident either. But it is typical for Hollywood to use, and abandon.

        • Partycrasher

          Yes, she DOES cover herself, just look at pictures afterward you iust don’t see it on camera. She even cried. The director of the show that year that year said so. Her name is Beth McCarthy Miller and Janet was not happy about how the performance. The ripped was planned, but Justin effed it up…

        • soundgardenklok

          Breasts are not sexual organs, so comparing a bared breast to a bared penis isn’t valid, in my opinion. An exposed vagina to an exposed penis is more comparable.

        • Lenster Baxtor

          She immediately covered herself. It was clear she thought the bra was on and it wasn’t. People there said she left the stage sobbing uncontrollably. Who would have an emotional reaction after a stunt? Makes no sense.

      • Partycrasher

        Wait, I wouldn’t say her career wained ealier. She was actually in between albums and her last album before this actually spawned a 7-week #1 hit. And the tour was sold out worldwide. Not only that, her new single Just A Little had top-ten potential until it was pulled from radio. They deliberately took away Janet’s LEAD single from her new album so they could destroy her. The woman did Rhythm Nation for a reason at the show.

        • horrido

          Oh no, you don’t. She was definitely not in the main stream at the time of this incident. This exposure was a publicity stunt to boost her failing career. She was already on her way down, and this incident had nothing to do with her failing. She’s just not that good.

          • Partycrasher

            YES, she was. Her single Just A Little While was receiving the most airplay at the time! She was IN BETWEEN albums. Her last tour ended two years before this and was a sold out world tour. And like I said ONE of her biggest singles came from her last album. Furthermore, that last album (in 2001) gave her her highest first week sales at 605k. Her new single from her new album (2004) was snatched from the radio. I was trying to upload a picture to show you the list of songs that was receiving the most airplay back then, but apparently it’s too big. Get your fact together because you clearly don’t know about her.

          • Lenster Baxtor

            Lmao! You are clearly a troll! The album was highly anticipated at the time. Even after the backlash the album almost went gold its first week but was harmed by the controversy. All for you had diamind status. So if she were a flop would the album still debut #2 pop? I’ll let you answer that lmao!

    • Brian Geiger

      Would have to disagree with your assessment.
      Per Wikipedia: “CBS forced Jackson to release a video apology” and, ” However, Timberlake was not required to film a video apology as Jackson was.”
      Timberlake was invited to the Grammy Awards while Janet was banned. If Timberlake himself said he was judged more harshly than Janet, that says a lot.

      • Richard Dunnagan

        If what you know of this event was gleaned from Wikipedia then you have no standing to comment. Unless you were around at the time you have no way of knowing the time, the place, or the events in totum.

        • Brian Geiger

          Not only was I around, I recorded the entire incident on the computer. I had that for reference. This was before Youtube as you recall. Every morning and evening going to and from work, I listened to the radio talk about the incident. You are not the only old dude here.

          • Richard Dunnagan

            Then I retract my criticism. As rebuttal to your point above – It was Janet’s show – not Timberlake’s. Janet’s producers, Janet’s advisers, Janet’s responsibility.

          • horrido

            Your analysis is spot on. Timberlake had nothing to do with it, other than that he was part of the show. How he can be held responsible for a pre-planed event is an example of Feminist’s blaming of everyone but themselves. If we had some sort of evidence that Timberlake was involved in the planning, it might be different.

          • Partycrasher

            Please, there you go. Americans can never admit when they’re wrong.

          • Lenster Baxtor

            I assume you are male. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you are white? Which you probably won’t admit. Fact is he agreed and participated. For him to save his ass afterwards with superficial responses, when he himself opted out of attending Black events and media junket, says a lot about his nature. If you are not complicit, then stand up and do what’s just. He didn’t and was both awarded and rewarded for it.

        • Bradford

          Right, Richie…..NOTHING on wiki is true…. Get a CLUE, MORAN!….

          • Richard Dunnagan

            Once again, your powers of commentary are staggering, My friend. This one even has an ad hom – in caps no less. Well done.

  • gregmaletic

    Never have I heard it seriously suggested that this was an accident. I mean, not once. Until now. That’s why the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” generated such eye rolls at the time, and is a term of derision still. The article asserts the accidental nature of the event without questioning it, which is a huge leap of faith.

    If it was deliberate—which is still the most credible story, and unquestionably the story that America believes, a point that the article ignores—then of course Janet Jackson deserves the blame. It was choreography that she knew would be considered outrageous, unacceptable, and still she approved it.

    If it was, against all odds, an accident, then she would still deserve the ultimate blame: it was she that allowed the country to see choreography in which her clothes get ripped off by a man; she signed off on choreography that was needlessly exploitative of her body, and her image.

    Stripping her of all agency, as the author does in this article, would in any other context be considered paternalistic, and an insult.

    • Partycrasher

      this is so stupid because the point is ONE got blamed and not the other. If Justin didn’t want to do it, all he could’ve said was, “No.”

      • gregmaletic

        I’m sure there’s a dozen people we could blame: the executives at MTV; whoever made the costume; Jackson’s agent, and yes, Timberlake. But the point is: it’s her body, and the buck stops with her. He wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t okayed it.

        • Partycrasher

          And that’s the problem. You clearly didn’t read the article. There shouldn’t have been this much an uproar over a breast that you barely even saw. Not only that, you are defending the ostrasizing of one person, which I feel was preemptive!

          • gregmaletic

            The idea that it was “no big deal” is absurd on its face: it was only done -because- Jackson and Timberake and everyone involved knew it would cause a sensation. Of course it was a big deal, especially during a family event like the Super Bowl.

          • Bradford

            If it’s such a “family” event, why all the BEER and DRUG (Viagra?) commercials…..
            How do YOU explain Viagra to YOUR 7-year old daughter….????….
            You’re white trailer trash, dude…..
            You already know you’re sexist, racist, white male patriarchic….
            (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

          • Partycrasher

            Not only that, those cheerleaders are half-naked as well. Cleavage and a$$ out all of the time. The football players are always using foul language that we can hear, but a breast sends people into a frenzie?

          • 10songsblog

            I think another part of it has nothing to do with Janet Jackson. It has to do with the Business of football. People don’t cry over cheerleaders and swearing players because to do so would change the game and hurt the business end of the sport. But I am sure MANY people in the business actually want to change the archaic system but fear the loss of wealth or a job so shut up. Janet’s stunt gave them a scapegoat to backwardsly address things they hated about the business without hurting the business. It didn’t change much though.

          • barry m

            Of course its a family event. You can’t seriously think it isn’t. The NFL even expresses it in the countless “NFL is family” commercials.

        • aidan morris

          lol its not like she got beheaded people just agreed that her lie about it being a mistake was not true and it was her headlining gig.

        • Bradford

          BLAME. BLAME. BLAME. The blame-game is LAME, but that’s about all the SEXIST, RACIST, WHITE MALE PATRIARCHY is capable of….
          (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

      • 10songsblog

        I wonder if it would’ve went better if she was just honest and said it was deliberate and asked the question start out, “Why do you have a problem with female breasts? Do you not like boobs because you are gay? Do you prefer looking at male breasts?” Throw it back to society and have them answer to their own idiocy and outrage.

        That tactic is one more celebrities need to use. I am not a huge Madonna fan but I do think her I don’t give a fuck make no apologies attitude is the way to go and is why she can get away with what others can’t. The same for Gaga she gets shit on all the time but she keeps right on being Gaga.

        I also Justin is a bit of a douche here he participated in the act and then when the hammer comes down like a coward he flees the scene to save his career. He could’ve said no to performing on the Grammys when Janet was blacklisted. And done a lot more in support of Janet but in this case I do agree with the whole white male privilege thing, which normally I don’t. He just sat back and let her get smoked. And I kind of find that a dick move to do a fellow musician you supposedly respect.

    • aidan morris

      exactly. we aren’t idiots in fact i remember watching live footage and they interview justin as he walks on stage going “amazing how did it feel” he says “amazing so happy”

      • Partycrasher

        Yeah, BUT footage of them two after it happened wasn’t so happy. He had a worried look on his face before he asked that question. He thought that people were ok with his “f*ck-up”, but they weren’t.

        • aidan morris

          Interesting to me it looked liked everything went as planned and then when angry phone calls came in suddenly a team of people rushed in to say it was a wardrobe malfunction. I think really no one cared it was all just to appease the disgusting neanderthal middle americans who want to vote for trump.

          • Partycrasher

            JUSTIN was the one that said wardrobe malfunction. And off of JANET’S shit. You Madonna idiots don’t like her, yet you troll her news articles. Janet didn’t respond until the next day.

          • TruthMachine

            so was it a malfunction or intentional?
            i am glad they always bring it up lol

          • Partycrasher

            Read what I wrote. Justing ripped her costume too early. MTV even said this, but was pressured by CONGRESS and the FCC only to say in 2014 that too much done.

          • TruthMachine

            It was on purpose and I love how it always gets raised. The stunt backfired lol

          • Partycrasher

            Ok, a lot of people who were actually there say otherwise.

          • TruthMachine

            Who? Janitor fans? Most people believe it was planned. Look it backfired and it will always overshadow her accomplishments and that delights me ?

          • Partycrasher

            Um, no they don’t. And you’re inly saying this because you want them too which is why you call her Janitor. Sat there and didn’t deny her accomplisments, but called her Janitor. Oh ok. ??

          • TruthMachine

            It was all planned poor janitor Jackson

          • TruthMachine

            By the way nobody is giving janitor Jackson an apology! I love how they always bring it up and I love how it gets u angry xx

          • Partycrasher

            Who said that I said that she deserved an apology? She actually does, but I know she won’t get it. Uppity Americans really don’t admit when they’re wrong.

          • TruthMachine

            You just said she needs an apology. Janet just needs to get out of her ugly fat Muslim clothes, get on a diet, stop whining about nipplegate and stop cosmetic surgery. That’s all!

    • Lenster Baxtor

      You are clearly a learned man and I agree with the view of agency but the fact of the matter is if it were a male,even a white male exposing his chest versus a woman exposing her breast, a black breast at that, it would not be an issue. Allow, yourself to be a revisionist. There are clearly other machinations in play. AND for the record she owned the decision and choreography the day after on a video she released to the media. So ownership is NOT the issue! It is sexism, racism, white male patriarchy. Let’s be crystal clear!

      • gregmaletic

        Of course if a man did this literal act—exposing a breast—it wouldn’t have been an issue. But that act wouldn’t have been bothered with, because that would have missed the point entirely.

        This was an act deliberately designed by Jackson and others to provoke and outrage. That was its only reason for existence.

        Perhaps the reaction was too strong, in that it persists to this day. But that’s not what the article was about: it’s about whether Jackson is responsible for this action, and its repercussions, regardless of their magnitude. And yes, she is.

        • Gertrude Stein

          Yup. In other words, you play with fire you might get burned. I’ve been wearing bras for about two decades now, and I can’t wrap my head around the feasibility of that ‘malfunction.’ Is America puritanical and moralistic, and unfairly judgmental toward women of color? Yes! But this is not the best example to highlight patriarchy’s condemnation since Jackson’s intention was to provoke the establishment during a family event. If she had done this on tour, it would have gotten press but not nearly the level of backlash, nor would it have been the coup de grace of her career.

          The treatment of Vanessa Williams in the 1980’s by the Miss America academy was dreadful, as well as a clear cut example of how America brands and treats a Jezebel. Revoking the title of Miss America because unauthorized, nude photos were leaked after the event? At least they had the stones to apologize decades later.

          I actually don’t think that Nipplegate would be as big a deal nowadays. With the advent of Instagram, as well as an increasingly graphic internet, Janet’s jiggling pasty wouldn’t be as provocative now as it was ten years ago. I mean, what 15 year old hasn’t seen Kim Kardashian’s petroleum jellied caboose from the Paper magazine shoot? However, even Kim would have sense enough to keep it under wraps during an event at one of America’s most holy institutions.

          • Bradford

            “Gertrude Stein” = SEXIST. RACIST. WHITE MALE PATRIARCH. must be “gregmaletic”‘s sapho sister….
            (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

          • Gertrude Stein

            “Bradford” = OVERUSE OF PUNCTUATION AND NON-SEQUITURS. (c) Now, Pretentious Douchebag., *The truth is stranger than FICTION.

          • Bradford

            “A lot of Medieval Rabbis were into astrology, nit wit.”……
            My, my, my, aren’t WE the self-annointed GRAMMAR NAZI….????….
            Have you seduced your 2 kids into the Space Cadet Academy of Astrology, also….????….
            And I’m curious why the 2-year break in comments…..????….
            Were you in long-tem rehab, or a coma….????….
            Yes, I’m a little “pretentious”, but the “douchebag” seems a little harsh, over-the-top, and downright uncalled for.
            And you typo’d “nonsequiturs” There’s *2* “o’s” in it….etc.,………………./
            ps: Yur gravatar/avatar photo montage is wicked cool….!
            Are you a single lady? I AM an available man. Just sayin’, honey-buns…..
            (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr. *NON-fiction
            BTW, I write fiction under a different name….

          • Gertrude Stein

            Again, your profligate punctuation isn’t nearly as lyrical as E.E. Cummings’. I suppose you are referring to some previous comment I made, of which I can’t remember the context. I have a masters in Western Esotericism and Mysticism, so perhaps I was commenting on the historical use of astrology from an informed, academic perspective?

            For me, trolling isn’t the recreational past time it seems to be for you. Hence, the hiatus.

            ‘Douchebag’ is one of my favorite words, so may I employ it more often than necessary. Mea culpa. Perhaps there is a more appropriate term to describe the disordered drivel of a sanctimonious internet troll. I’m open to suggestions.

          • Bradford

            Anybody who comments here, can simply click on the commenters name, and their comment history pops up….
            I almost always check that, before I reply, to get a better idea who/what I’m dealing with….
            That’s all I did with you….
            I saw enough that I found interesting and compelling to engage in a little online banter….
            My reply to YOUR reply was best expressed as a figurative > ROTFLMFAO <
            I'd really like to correspond w/you (online).
            Your "troll" characterization is not justified, I think.

          • Bradford

            Sorry. Hasty reply. I meant that YOUR reply to me, made ME go all > ROTFLMFAO </
            Thanks, I do enjoy a good laugh at my expense, especially when I've worked so hard to earn it.
            (….and, all *THIS* over JJ's nipple-slip….????….wtf?….
            I think the internet is making us all crazy….

        • Bradford

          SEXISM. RACISM. WHITE MALE PATRIARCHY. You’re 5-for-5, punk-azz….
          (c)Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

      • 10songsblog

        That because society has totally fucked up the concept of the female breast by equating it with sexual organs.

        Fucking hell I was a nanny at the time the 9 year old girl kept insisting men don’t have breasts only girls/women do that why boys want girls. Ugh. We both have breasts and we both have mammary glands. Get over it.

    • Bradford

      Dude, you are WAY OVER-thinking this petty, irrelevant, nonsense…. You’re grossly over-reacting, and I’m wasting my time pointing out what should have been obvious to you. The type of simpid and vapid over-intellectualization you exemplify here does more harm than good. It’s a freakin’ nipple-slip fer gawd’s sake…. I know it’s way too late now, but I’m truly sorry yur momma dint breastfeed you….
      (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

    • Brian Geiger

      Point of the article was not that Janet should be free from blame. Is the unequal treatment of Janet versus Justin. They are like Adam and Eve, they both did it. Whether one or the other ate first is immaterial. Even if Janet signed off on it, Justin is equally to blame.
      When a women is in a porn shoot, she get removed from a teaching position decades latter. The man who choreographed the shoot has probably become the community leader. We blame the person who did it int that case rather than who signed off on it. Funny you now use a different standard to justify racism.

  • The Original Chicken Hawk

    I’m sorry, that while I believe that she was treated harshly, I have a hard time believing that she wore nipple jewelry for the show without expecting to be exposed.

    • aidan morris

      that’s exactly it. no one bought that this was a wardrobe mistake. we aren’t idiots. she tried do something that might work for mtv cable tv during the day and it failed.

      • Partycrasher

        No, she talked about her nipple piercing years before this!

    • Partycrasher

      LIES! Janet talked about her nipple jewelry years before this performace. Try again!

    • Lenster Baxtor

      Dude ..ah know your facts…Janet talked about pierced nipples and tats during the velvet rope era. I do agree the jewelry was probably supposed to shine under the bra but not expose her breast. That’s not her brand. That’s Madonna. Janet’s brand in terms of her approach to sexuality is “private sensual freak” so I buy it was a malfunction. The look on she and J.T. ‘s faces was the proof. Let’s be real here!

      • The Original Chicken Hawk

        As I often do when I come across a ‘well disputed’ issue, I read further on the matter. This is no exception:

        There was no red bra, that was just a little red lace on the top of the cup which snapped on to the corset.

      • The Original Chicken Hawk
        • Partycrasher

          Yes, Janet covered for Justin saying “watdrobe malfunction” when in actuality Justin ripped her too early. Beth McCarthy Miller has said this in an interview on youtube and Janet actually cried after that.

          • TruthMachine

            poor janitor jackson she cried because her scheme had the opposite reaction that she wanted!

          • Partycrasher

            Stop stalking me.

          • TruthMachine

            Stalking? It’s the same article idiot!

          • Partycrasher

            Um, no, cunt, didn’t I run into you on TMZ?

          • TruthMachine

            Possibly I didn’t realize. Watch ur language or was that a language malfunction? I’ll check with Justin timberlake – I like him do u?

          • Partycrasher

            Scheme? Idiotic. She right after the performance when she was leaving the stage. You f*cking nuisance.

      • aidan morris

        Thank god you dont hold any position of power. you’re way off. Also madonna is waaaay smarter then Janet she knows her audience. Watch a press junket she does before the super bowl she talks Detroit and being a cheerleader. Madonna knows how to market herself for each target audience. The britney/ xtina kiss was on mtv. Janet and others fail because they think it’s easy to shock yet they are not good marketers. Madonna also shocks like a european film there is an art behind it so it looks artistic – aka the justify my love video- everyone else just does playboy.

    • Bradford

      ….”nipple jewelry”….wtf?……isn’t the FACTS that Janet was wearing a flesh-colored piece of “pastie” tape over her nipple….????….
      (BTW, a “Chicken Hawk” is an older man who is attracted to young boys for sex. In other words, a pedophile….LOL!….)

      • The Original Chicken Hawk

        Oh, good lord man, personal attacks don’t really make your dead wrong point any more true. It’s so very easy to search the pictures online.

        • Bradford

          See, there you go again – always making everything always all about you! “Personal Attacks”? wtf?
          Isn’t the ‘toon in yur avatar from that old cartoon with “Foghorn Leghorn”, and stuff? Wasn’t he supposed to be a “chicken hawk” down South, or out Mid-West, or somethin’ or somewhere like that? And me bringin’ it up, because YOU use that character, instead of the dignified anonymity *I* chose, and that’s supposed to be a “personal attack”? wtf? Oh, right, I already said it was a question, but you’re claiming it’s a “personal attack”? Dude, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean everybody’s out to get you! And just because everybody’s out to get you, doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid about it. OK? Thanks. Now, go be a good boy, take yur meds, get some sleep. You’ll prolly feel better ina mornin’, K? Mebbe somebody post a video fer ya’ or somethin’, mM’K?…”
          (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

          • The Original Chicken Hawk

            What an emotional loon you be.

          • Bradford

            What, ME worry….????….
            Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk….!!!!….
            ….th-, th-, th- that’s all, folks!/

  • skydivepaul

    Any idiot that thinks she wasn’t planned is a complete moron. I never saw her come out suing justin timberlake for sexual assault. This supposed journalist is a complete idiot.

    • Richard Dunnagan

      I love how the author of this piece tries to tie in slavery. If this isn’t an example of revisionist history, I don’t know what is.

    • Partycrasher

      You idiot, no one said that the rip wasn’t planned.

      • hatfinch

        Speaking of idiots, you might want to read the article again:

        “Janet Jackson, who went from pop music royalty to scapegoat pariah in a matter of 9/16th of a second, the blink of time her breast was *accidentally* exposed to an estimated 140 million people during 2004’s Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
        [emphasis mine]

        • Partycrasher

          You were never meant to see her breast is my point! DUH!

          • hatfinch

            You’re saying that the rip was planned, but that the exposure was accidental?

            Wow. You are naive in the extreme.

            Here’s a clue for you: the action was timed to coincide with the lyric “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song”.

          • hatfinch

            See also the photo that The Original Chicken Hawk posted above:

          • hatfinch

            Doesn’t quite square with “he was supposed to pull Janet’s bustier to reveal a red lace bra, but both pieces ended up ripping off”, does it?!

  • Richard Dunnagan

    Let me see: It was Janet’s show. Janet’s choreography. Janet’s mock sexual assault idea. All very “push the envelope” and “edgy”. And who at the time had any doubt that the wardrobe “malfunction” was anything less than a premeditated gimmick that came off exactly as conceived. It lies at Janet’s feet, and no other.

    Although it seems tame now, at the time it was a bridge too far. Janet and her producers underestimated the backlash in what was a horrific miscalculation. Instead of being propelled to hyper-relevance and pop immortality she was shunned by all but her strident fans. It WAS a classless gimmick. And she was deemed classless as a result. And Timberlake was judged the unknowing dupe.

    To me, it is a classic example of the entertainment elite forgetting that the rarefied bubble they live in is not reality for the vast majority of Americans. And what venue brings together a larger collection of ordinary people than the Super Bowl? This stunt would have flown in Vegas. It did not play in Peoria.

    • aidan morris

      okay you write very well!!! well done. you win.

  • Brian Geiger

    People forget the toxic atmosphere in 2004. This was after 9/11, and President Bush was hugely popular. We went to war in the name of God. American flag along with “God Bless America” was on every other car bumper and on every other lawn. We were also in a recession. Free trade with China that Bill Clinton put in place and Bush went along was causing thousands of plant closure. (7000 plants closure eventually) People were out of jobs, and were mortgaging their house for money. We had terrorism, we had recession, we had layoffs. It was a mix of religion, war and hatred towards anything Muslim. Remember, how people reacted over Muslims wanting to build a mosque next to 9/11 site. We were blaming Muslims as a whole for a few extremist. It was acceptable to do it back then, but not so much now with a liberal president. As much as people will not admit it, the president sets the tone for the country.
    It was during this time that Janet decided to show her skin. If this was five years earlier during the Clinton admin, story would have went away. Given a religious right, war, recession, it was a perfect storm. Yes, Janet was judged more harshly than Justin. The fact that it was Justin’s song with the words “Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song” did not cause any outrage. Truly a dark period in US history.

  • Bob Trollman

    It’s all BS, from the Madonna & Britney’s open mouth kiss the Sharon Stone’s leg cross, to keeping Janet’s marriage a secret; you have to keep pushing the envelop to keep attention. Pop is about keeping relevant. There’s no way this was a ‘malfunction’, it was a calculated ruse to gain attention in a vines world of 6 second sound bytes. And it blew up. Too bad. soo sad move on.
    There’s an older saying, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    • Partycrasher

      Idiot, her secret marriage wasn’t about “pushing the envelope”.

  • Monica Adams

    Thank you! I have been waiting for twelve years for someone to point out the hypocritical behavior of our country. If we follow the conventional wisdom if 2004, Janet Jackson’s breast was far more damaging to a child’s psyche than repeated viewings of the Twin Towers collapsing or televising the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein being paraded through the streets of Iraq. As much as I love my country, I have a real problem with our puritanical and contradictory beliefs about what is moral. It’s good to know that Michael Powell can laugh off destroying someone’s career so easily. That’s what I look for in a government official.

    • aidan morris

      you’re an idiot. please study journalism and expand your mediocre mind

      • Monica Adams

        If it’s not too taxing, please explain what you find objectionable about my comment. Thank you.

        • aidan morris

          What you wrote is actually fine. I think the issue with sex and violence on tv is an ongoing discussion because agreed people seem okay with watching people be bombed to death and freak out when they see a body part. I mean North America was founded by puritanical people who have no idea what the fuck they are talking about. I also think the media knows how obsessed people are with sex that they made this story into a bigger issue then it ever was. Janet’s career didn’t “die” with this event she has about 4 okay songs, not a huge discography of hits and cannot sell out tours. Her record career was handed to her because she is a jackson and filled the gap with record labels wanting more female pop stars to make money since Madonna as making a fortune in the 80’s.

          • Bradford

            I especially like the part about how “America was founded by puritanical people who have no idea what the fuck they are talking about.” Look at the *debates* the other night, for PROOF of THAT!….

          • aidan morris

            I’m so scared to be an american right now. Donald Trump is the worst.

          • Bradford

            Please don’t let that loudmouth buffoon “scare” you. He’s a carnival barker, a huckster, and a mediocre businessman. He’s an egomaniac, a narcissist, and an idiot. He’s the DISTRACTION, that’s designed to divert your attention from more important matters. Now is NOT the time to be “scared to be an AMERICAN”. And, you need to think how this Trumpster plays to *foreign* audiences. North Korea has their “Lil Kim’un”, and we have the Donald. Relax and enjoy the show. The next POTUS will be Kasich. He’s the “dark horse” following the pack. Google the fraud court case going on over Trump Univ. And check out >jonrappoport.com<, I think that's correct. He's got an analysis that'll make you feel a lot better. Hope this helps….
            (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

          • Bradford

            ooops! I screwed up and posted a bad link by mistake….got the name mostly correct. you’ll know the correct “jon rappoport”, when you get to his site….

        • Bradford

          I *STILL* *AGREE* with you, Monica…. (BTW, you aren’t the famous Santa Monica Adams, are you….????….

          • Monica Adams

            No, though I fear I will soon become the infamous Northern Virginia Monica Adams. 😉

          • Bradford

            Well, I suppose that’s better than being Northern Virginia’s “Monica the Madam”!….
            And, even after all these years, has there been ANYBODY who has come forward, and expressed ANY kind of real “harm” from this planned-publicity stunt nipple-slip? Wouldn’t you agree, that it’s our gross over-reaction that is both the symptom, and the cause of the “problem” here? – *I* feel cheap and dirty even thinking about such trivial nonsense! I *think* I still respect myself this morning!
            (c) Tom Clancy, Jr. *NON-fiction
            (Today is the N.H. Primary, and the Carson/Repubthug campaign is gonna fire me anyway. I’m not supposed to know that, but I won’t get paid for this comment, if I don’t put in that bot-readable tag line.
            THIS WHOLE ELECTION IS RIGGED! It’s the “GREG B.’S”! The Global Ruling Elites and Global BANKSTERS!
            The so-called “U.S. Federal Reserve” is really a PRIVATE BANK, with SECRET OWNERS! Tell the TRUTH! Let
            people KNOW! Expose the BEAST! EXPOSE THE BEAST! EXPOSE the Hilda-Beast! The beast? Hilary. Vote BERNIE! BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT! &If you’re a Repubtard, VOTE *CARLY**FIORINA* Iron Lady!….;)

      • Partycrasher

        Madonna fan, shut up! You guys STALK Janet’s articles!

        • TruthMachine

          Stop crying! You janitor Jackson fans are all flops like her rescheduled tour soon to be cancelled flop tour xxx

          • Partycrasher

            Girl, go take a midol. You’re here on another article bashing her. She keeps you bothered, you’re following her. Janet’s doing something right?

          • TruthMachine

            You seem bothered I’ve read you bashing Madonna fans! By the way, will janitors tour outgroas rebel heart tour? Any thoughts? Janitor won’t even reach 70million the way she is going xx

    • Bradford

      I’m with YOU, Monica! You said it for ME, TOO!….Sheesh! Hollywood has to make a freakin’ volcano outa JJ’s nipple!
      Obviously, these grown-up boys didn’t get breastfed enough! But why should *WE* have to suffer for that!

  • aidan morris

    Janet was “blacklisted” because no one bought the lie fed to the public, after everyone went this was trashy, that justin “was supposed to just rip off part of the outfit” she planned it and it blew up in her face. Justin even after the performance as i watched an interview was asked moments after how it went and he says: amazing. He didnt mention or react to the “malfunction” Janet is not an artist. She got a record deal because her brother was a star and she was a jackson. She’s basic. Cannot sell out tours and that’s that.

  • “America” does not owe Janet Jackson an apology. The media establishment owes her an apology. As is aptly noted in the comments below, America did not turn its back on Janet when she continued to release high-debut albums. America wanted more Janet but the media said “you can’t have her.” Frankly, I’m bored of media types blaming “America” for their own racist, sexist, and bigoted choices. America is a much more accepting and forgiving place than the media would have you believe. But then, they have to keep you watching, listening and reading. After all, their jobs depend on it.

  • Lenster Baxtor

    Emmanuel I WISH there were Pulitzer’s for online articles (is there?l cause you homicide’d this well written thoroughly provocative article son!!! Bow down!

  • pablof

    Is this writer seriously pretending that that whole episode was not planned? Really?

    She had a star shaped jewelry piercing or what looked like that on her nipple!

    Why would she put that on there if she/he/they all had not planned for it to be shown?!

    Please people you can’t seriously be that naive.

  • mondaysundown

    you know what’s STUPID…the whole idea that this should even be an issue. This has nothing to do with Janet Jackson, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, wardrobe malfunction, red bra, choreography, whatever…..it has to do with WHINY AMERICAN Sanctimonious HYPOCRITICAL MORONIC self hating women and misogynist men! Super Bowl makes me want to PUKE and the people that ever had or have an issue with a tit falling out whether it’s black or white is one of the reasons Americans are so incredibly idiotic.

  • George Soros

    A stunt gone wrong to which she was complicit and the offender with those saggies.

  • Bradford

    I’m a white guy. *I* do NOT owe Janet Jackson an apology. YOU MEDIA types, Repubtards & Demoncraps alike, and the whole “military-industrial-info-edu-tainment complex” owes AMERICA, and the world, and yes, me & Janet, that apology. We won’t be holding our breaths. We have too much work to do….
    (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

  • When you end your article with: “But she’ll most likely have to work against the damage done by that 9/16th of a second for the rest of her career”, do you see how, you too mister Hapsis, are guilty of erasing Justin Timberlake from the incident? It was not the hand of time that ripped miss Jackson’s clothes off, it was Justin Timberlake. Why are you afraid to write: “But she’ll most likely have to work against the damage done by Justin Timberlake for the rest of her career”?

  • Defog

    It was obviously deliberate (with Sun medallion surrounding the embedded nipple) – NOT “accidentally exposed”.

  • Joe McAllister

    I do not think that Jackson deserves an apology. Regardless of whether she intended to show her full breast or not, there was the terrible decision to have Timberlake pull off her breast coverlet to expose her brassiere as he sang, “I’ll have you naked by the end of this song.” There is a time and a place for everything. While I think that act is rather tame compared to my tastes, the audience watching the Super Bowl is not the best audience for that sort of material. I find the assertion that the incident was accidental to be bizarre, though, considering that Jackson has a bizarre star shaped item stuck to her nipple. If she did not intend to expose the breast, what purpose did the star serve?

  • Charli Bost

    They owe Janet a big apology and should support her new album, and re-release past singles that would have slammed into the top 10. Damita Jo would have outsold “All For You” were it not for the wrongful treatment of Janet.

    See, it was not on purpose on her part. She had a bra on under it. JUSTIN chose to tear it all off.
    And to think, she toured his sorry ass when N’Sync first started.

    NOW….As far as Michael Powell finally admitting the overreaction last year is to little to late.

    I am pleading with radio to play her new songs. They sound so much better than this shit you are calling music now.

    She was black and beautiful, and on the verge of smashing her own records…..so she was a threat, they used this to stop her.

    Think about it, all of Janet’s primary singles were top ten , 25 in a row…more than any other female artist without missing the top ten.

    Had “Son of a Gun” been given a CD single, it would have been a top ten hit.

    BUT..”Just a Little While” was well on the way to the top charts in 2004 on the new album.

    But they shaded her out and let Justin go scott free as if he was not there.

    That pussy…left her hanging.

    America….the bigots that came for her…I hope your own lives fail.

    Janet, use this album to get back what was stolen from you.

  • Like I GiveAShitake

    I’ll never understand the hoopla over that. If a girl saw in 10 years, she’d probably have breasts like Janet Jackson. If a boy saw it, in 10 years, he’d want to see breasts like Janet Jackson. Nothing but a bunch of hypocrites reacting like this will bring about Armageddon.

  • 10songsblog

    LOL! Justin Timberlake… That dude could’ve done more to help the situation like NOT attend the Grammys in a show of solidarity towards Janet. He can talk the talk but his walk is LIMP. Janet is a badass… I do think this was more of a political distraction than anything… if you want to get conspiracy about it you could say it was planned. LOL!

    But I noticed that most of the people that ever talked about this, especially in a negative way, or talk about sex/race at all are “white people”. I think Margaret Cho addressed on Colbert recently. If you are on television or the web complaining about nipples or really anything then you have it better than 90% of the world’s population.

    • cindy_in_tx

      “White people”?

  • nevenera

    I am still, will will likely always be, puzzled why this is such a big deal. In many other countries women are whipping them out when they need to to breast feed and nobody blinks an eye. So watching of the most violent sports is fine for children, but if they see a naked breast they are going to have psychological problems? Really? Frankly my guess is most kids would laugh and think it is silly, it is the parents that are uncomfortable, and try as I might…I am still puzzled why.

    it is a boob people… even though it is a black boob, it is not the end of the world.

  • larzo

    She did it on purpose and then wants to play the victim when the consequences are more than expected.

    The author of this piece is a brainwashed idiot.

  • Malby

    She planned the bit, no? It was dumb, no? She will be remembered for it far more than her music, and that makes sense.
    Not sure why this article happened. Certainly not to explore “white male privilege” in any rational way. Timberlake was a guest at her party, and was attempting to carry out her direction. Big snore.

  • j238

    One more thing. Seeing human anatomy isn’t harmful to anyone, except in a society that supresses and eroticizes body parts. In Europe, bare breasts and more are on tv routinely. I’m sure a few kids have gotten to see Game of Thrones without getting scarred for life.

  • John W. Ta-Tao Hale

    It was obviously intentional. Justin Timberlake’s reaction is blatantly phony. And are we supposed to believe that she just decided at the last minute to wear that sunshine thingy on her nipple?

  • Paul A. Ellingson

    OMG. Are there really people out there who still believe this was “accidental”?? Take the time to watch the video closely. There is no sign of a “red lace bra”, folks. She planned to expose her breast, or she wouldn’t have covered her nipple with a pasty. She doesn’t even try to cover up when it happens. Getting naked in front of the camera is commonplace for Janet, so this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In front of the largest television audience on the planet her and Justin executed a plan that would keep their names in the news for decades to come, and this stupid article is proof of their success.

  • cindy_in_tx

    The whole thing was intentional, young children were watching, and both of them deserved to be fined. I think Justin got off way too lightly, but it wasn’t his breast showing.

    In my opinion, both should have been fined heavily and not allowed back on live tv for a while, but the reason Janet got more outrage was because she was the one exposed.

    If it had been Madonna, she would have gotten the same type of reaction and punishment as Janet. Not a black/white thing in my opinion.

    Plus, the whole “wardrobe malfunction” explanation was so obviously false that it pissed people off. People don’t wear pasties over their nipples if they don’t expect to be showing them with a stunt like that.

  • The Wickerman

    Nope, sorry, not going to feel bad for multi-millionaire pop stars of any type.
    I don’t care how much you like her songs or whatever, it’s all garbage pop-commercial money making crap.
    The Superbowl and pro sports are terrible, rich-people toys and events, and if you’re involved with this wasteful spectacle you get what you deserve.

    No apologies, no sorry, no sad, no nothing. You dig your own grave by playing with this NFL garbage spectacle.

  • Scruffy J Nerfherder

    She crossed a line in a different time. She over sexualized herself during a family event being broadcast live into millions of homes. Timberlake was indeed a part of it, but he was on his way up and Janet was at the top of her game, a multi millionaire, and the furthest thing from oppressed. At the time I remember finding the whole thing to be in poor taste, but unremarkable. Suggesting the nebulous and omnipotent jabberwocky patriarchy was at play is much like the concept itself; speculative, theoretical, and bombastic. However, there is good news. Even as it was then when conservatives and the religious right were the de facto arbiters of censorship and moral righteousness, the balance has swung and now the regressive left and liberals are the new enemies of free speech and champions of moral righteousness. Now it’s men who are under attack for everything from how they sit, what they look at, and on and on ad infinitum. Hence, she is not owed anything. Just as no apologies will be forthcoming for all of the lives that have been ruined in the past few years by the regressives. People who have lost jobs over false or hyperbolic accusations ranging from rape to garden variety insensitivity. I often think about generational legacies. How my grandparents were part of the “Greatest Generation”. Then came the “Me Generation” of well fed baby boomers and hippies. Then mine, “Generation X” and then “Y”. What will we call the millennials? Certainly not the greatest. The previous two were characterized by apathy and hopelessness. This generation is characterized by prideful weakness, whining, plain weirdness, Orwellian thought control, and dogmatic ideologies. The world is more unstable than is has been since the cold war and I shudder to think that the Social Justice League are up to the challenges ahead. Especially considering their dogmatic dedication to deconstructionism.

  • Michael Cashaw

    Had this been Brittany Spears or Madonna’s breast exposed, does anyone think this would have been such a huge issue?

  • Tacey Perkins

    First there is a bigger act of African American discrimination than any other discrimination in America past and present! This Superbowl event bothers me that Janet was bashed when other celebrities like Brittney Spears and Madonna and others alike have had indecent performances only to be followed with short small talk and tabloids. And if you are really for Womens rights you shouldn’t want to see Justin Timbelakes face on any public sector! I mean he shows up on stage not wearing his usual stage clothes and than he can’t follow instructions on what to pull and what not to pull! This guy I don’t buy it! Did he he intentionally do this to embarrass her? Uhh can he not get laid by ethnic women or something! And Mrs.Janet should have been announced the Queen of Pop or at the least the Princess of Pop It is awful how hollywood has discredit her success! It would have been genius for her to be given that royal music title! Yes Emmanuel America does owe Janet Jackson an apology!

Author

Emmanuel Hapsis

Emmanuel Hapsis is the creator and editor of KQED Pop and also the host of The Cooler. He studied creative writing at University of Maryland and went on to receive his MFA in the field from California College of the Arts. In his free time, he sings his heart out at karaoke.

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