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Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy

  Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on February 1, 2004 from Houston, Texas on the CBS television network in the United States, was noted for a controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson's bare breast was exposed by Justin Timberlake in what was referred to as a "wardrobe malfunction".[1] The incident, sometimes referred to by the portmanteau Nipplegate[2] [3], was widely discussed. It, along with the rest of the halftime show, led to a crackdown and widespread debate on perceived "indecency" in broadcasting, leading to a record $550,000 fine levied by the Federal Communications Commission to CBS[4], as well as an increase of FCC fines per indecency violation from $27,500 to $325,000.[5] Additionally, the halftime show was seen by some as a sign of decreasing morality in the national culture.[6][7]


The incident

Among several other acts, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed a medley/duet of their songs "All for You", "Rhythm Nation" (Jackson), and "Rock Your Body" (Timberlake) during the halftime show. The performance featured many suggestive dance moves by both singers, and as the song reached the final line, "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song," Timberlake pulled off a part of Jackson's costume, revealing her right breast (adorned with a large, sun-shaped nipple shield, a piece of jewelry worn to accentuate the appearance of a nipple piercing).

In the immediate aftermath, the CBS broadcast cut to an aerial view of the stadium, but was unable to do so before the picture was sent to millions of viewers' televisions. Many considered this indecent exposure, as a record-breaking 200,000 Americans contacted the Federal Communications Commission to complain, saying it was inappropriate in the context of a football game.[8]

The halftime show was produced by MTV and aired on the CBS television network. At the time, both MTV and CBS were owned by the media group Viacom (as of January 2006, the companies have been split into separate entities, CBS became self-owned, however MTV became part of the new Viacom group spun off from the old Viacom, now known as CBS Corporation. Both companies are still owned by National Amusements). The controversy prompted tighter control of live television and radio broadcasts in the United States by station owners in fear of high fines that could be levied by the Federal Communications Commission. Following the incident, the NFL announced that MTV, who also produced the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXV, would never be involved in another halftime show. [9]

Besides Jackson's exposure, the show featured numerous dancers, alongside rappers Sean "Diddy" Combs (who was nicknamed "P. Diddy" at the time) and Nelly, who were grabbing their crotches[10], along with other participants in costumes, such as Kid Rock wearing an American flag with holes for the sleeves and collar, which some viewers felt was offensive due to the "difficult times of war" going on.[11]

Public reaction

In the United States, the exposure of Jackson's breast led to much controversy and headlines, being the fifth-ranked story on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on the day after the Super Bowl.[12] Conservative media watchdog group Parents Television Council issued a statement that same day condemning the halftime show, announcing that their members would file indecency complaints with the Federal Communications Commission and the council supported the FCC's decision to investigate the halftime show immediately. [13] Therefore, the PTC created a section in their web site where its members and other visitors could complain about the show.[14] In addition, the Federal Communications Commission received nearly 540,000 complaints from Americans[9], with about 65,000 of them coming from the PTC.[15] Many parents also expressed their disappointment towards the Super Bowl, claiming that they expected it to be a family-friendly event but instead had to be subjected to the sexually charged content. [16] Georgia state senator Zell Miller also, in United States Senate, denounced the halftime show as what he perceived as declining morality in America.[7] However, an Associated Press poll found that only 18% of Americans supported the FCC's investigation.[17] Justin Timberlake told KCBS-TV a few days following the Super Bowl that his own family was offended by the Super Bowl mishap. [18] In Canada, where the show was broadcast by Global Television Network, the incident passed largely without controversy: only about 50 Canadians[19] complained about the incident to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). CBSC received roughly twice as many complaints about other aspects of the Super Bowl broadcast, including music and advertising issues.[20]

In Europe public reaction was widely affected by incomprehension – to the indignation of the American media and audience and not in terms to the bare breast of Janet Jackson. [21] A Time magazine poll in 2005 revealed that 66% of Americans believed that the FCC "overreacted" to the halftime show.[22]

On February 1, 2005, exactly one year after the halftime show, the Parents Television Council released a report titled MTV Smut Peddlers: Targeting Kids with Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol, covering MTV programming during the network's "Spring Break" week from March 20 to 27, 2004, accusing MTV of irresponsibly promoting sex, drugs, and alcohol to impressionable youth.[23][24] In response to the report, MTV network executive Jeannie Kedas argued that the report "underestimates young people's intellect and their level of sophistication."[23] Three days later, PTC president L. Brent Bozell published a column "MTV Knows No Shame", claiming that MTV " audience of sexually precocious children, too young for pornography, but eager for the next best thing."[25] On February 6, however, New York Times columnist Frank Rich argued that censorship on television was becoming more prevalent following the halftime show in his column "The Year of Living Indecently".[26]

Legal action

On February 4, Terri Carlin, a banker residing in Knoxville, Tennessee, launched a class action lawsuit against Jackson and Timberlake on behalf of "all American citizens who watched the outrageous conduct." The lawsuit alleged that the halftime show contained "sexually explicit acts solely designed to garner publicity and, ultimately, to increase profits for themselves." The lawsuit sought "maximum" punitive and compensatory damages from the performers. Ms. Carlin later dropped the lawsuit. [27] Three months later, Eric Stephenson, a lawyer from Farmington, Utah, filed a $5,000 lawsuit in small-claims court against Viacom for "false advertising" of the Super Bowl halftime show, as he, the father of three young children, claimed that pre-game advertising led him to believe that the halftime show would consist of marching bands, balloons, and a patriotic celebration. The lawsuit was rejected because Stephenson should have filed a federal lawsuit or complaint to the FCC, which was already investigating the halftime show.[28]

The incident triggered a rash of fines that the Federal Communications Commission levied soon after the Super Bowl. The FCC alleged that the context of the "wardrobe malfunction" was intended "to pander, titillate and shock those watching" because it happened within the lyrics within Timberlake's performance of Rock Your Body: "Hurry up 'cause you're taking too long. . . better have you naked by the end of this song." [29] In addition, the FCC cited a news article on the website of MTV claiming that the halftime show would promise "shocking moments" [30] and that "officials of both CBS and MTV were well aware of the overall sexual nature of the Jackson/Timberlake segment, and fully sanctioned it—indeed, touted it as 'shocking' to attract potential viewers."[29] CBS, however, argued that the exposure was unplanned,[31] although in later statements CBS asserted that while the exposure unplanned by CBS, it was deliberately planned by Jackson and Timberlake "independently and clandestinely".[32] On September 22, 2004 [33], the FCC fined Viacom the maximum $27,500 (US) penalty for each of the twenty CBS-owned television stations (including satellites of WFRV in Green Bay, WCCO in Minneapolis, and KUTV in Salt Lake City; current CBS owned-and-operated station KOVR in Sacramento at the time was owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group) for a total $550,000 fine, the largest ever against a television broadcaster at that time. However, the Parents Television Council[34] and even some of the FCC commissioners[29] criticized the FCC for fining only twenty CBS stations, not all of them, for the halftime show.

The United States House of Representatives passed a bill, soon after the Super Bowl, to raise the maximum FCC fine penalty from said $27,500 to $500,000 per violation.[4] The United States Senate voted to decrease it to $275,000 per incident, with a cap of $3 million per day.[4] The two houses reconciled the differences in fine levels, settling for a fine of $325,000 (US) per violation in the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005.[5]

Many entertainment companies were forced to modify themselves due to the public outrage. Clear Channel Communications removed "talk-radio host" Howard Stern from several of its large-market radio stations within a month of the incident, citing the raunchy content of Stern's show. The FCC fined Clear Channel after a Florida-based radio show featuring Bubba the Love Sponge was charged with indecency.[35] As a result of the incident, some networks established regulations requiring time delays of as much as five minutes for live broadcasts such as awards shows and sporting events.[36] When the game telecast from CBS aired February 1, 2007 on NFL Network, the entire halftime show was passed over, cutting after a commercial break directly to the second half, and another incident.

On November 24, 2004, Viacom paid out $3.5 million to settle outstanding indecency complaints and stated that it would challenge the $550,000 penalty related to the incident.[37] The Parents Television Council has frequently criticized the appeal because they have claimed hypocrisy in CBS' immediate apology in the days following the Super Bowl.[38] [39][40][41] [42] [43] In March 2006, the FCC affirmed that the Super Bowl halftime show was indecent[44], so CBS paid the FCC's issued fine in July 2006 in order to take their appeal against their fine to federal court.[45] CBS appealed the fine on September 17 at the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.[46] As of November 2007, CBS's appeal has yet to be solved.[47]

Impact on Jackson

Jackson's career has declined since this incident, though there is no evidence that her decline could be attributed to the incident, something which did not occur with Timberlake (who has had four Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles since). Before the Super Bowl incident, all of Jackson's albums since her 1986 breakthrough effort Control went multi-platinum and generated a string of Billboard Top 10 singles. This level of success was not garnered by any of her post-Super Bowl material. [48] Her highest charting single since the Super Bowl incident, "Call on Me", peaked at only #25 on the Hot 100, with some singles even failing to chart.[49]

Still, her music videos have since lost considerable airplay on channels such as MTV and VH1.[50] [51] In spite of all this, Jackson has remained popular on urban media outlets such as Viacom-owned BET, where her latest music videos are still in heavy rotation. In 2006, during an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Jackson stated that the Super Bowl scandal was an accident. [52] Justin Timberlake also told MTV that he "probably got 10 percent of the blame," later explaining that "America's harsher on women" and "unfairly harsh on ethnic people," referring to the backlash suffered by him and Jackson. [53]

The streaker

Moments after the Jackson-Timberlake tangle, streaker Mark Roberts added to the controversial halftime by running around the field nearly-naked except for some writing on his body which read "SUPER BOWEL" on the front, an advertisement for online betting website, and a well-placed G-string. Part of Roberts' stunt was seen on-air in the USA however, then CBS chose to keep its cameras in a wide-shot view of the stadium and quick cutaways to players and coaches as Roberts ran around the field until players from both competing teams, the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, tackled him. Matt Chatham, the Patriots' special teams expert and reserve linebacker initially knocked Roberts down, thus allowing stadium security and police to arrest Roberts and eject him from Reliant Stadium, the site of the game.[54] In a joking reference to that incident, CBS play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel stated to fellow commentator Phil Simms the following:

"I think we've had an omen that the second half is going to be a lot of raw, naked football."

Roberts would once again "grace" the football field on October 28, 2007 when he had the "Super Bowel Revisited" prior to the second half of the New York Giants-Miami Dolphins game in London, England's Wembley Stadium.

Other controversies

The Super Bowl broadcast featured numerous commercials for erectile dysfunction medicines and beer advertisements with a flatulating horse and a dog attacking male genitalia. [16] [56] In a league-mandated policy meant to clear the airwaves of such advertisements, with the exception of the erection pills, the NFL announced that those types of commercials would not air again during Super Bowl broadcasts. In January 2005, Fox, the network that carried Super Bowl XXXIX under the alternating network contract, and is known for its edgy, risk-taking programming, rejected an advertisement for the cold remedy Airborne that briefly featured the naked buttocks of veteran actor Mickey Rooney.[57]

Prior to the broadcast, CBS rejected the ad Bush in 30 Seconds because it was deemed too "controversial." CBS stated that it had a "decades-old" policy of rejecting ads regarding "controversial issues of public importance," although MoveOn charged that the networks had previously accepted similar ads from other groups. [58]

Aftermath and impact on television

Censorship of broadcasting

Some have speculated that the fallout from this incident may have a subtle effect on daytime television. These television shows are known for "love in the afternoon" and regularly feature romantic couplings; shortly before the Super Bowl, the Procter & Gamble soap operas As the World Turns and Guiding Light had gone as far as featuring rear male nudity during lovemaking scenes. After the Super Bowl controversy, FCC commissioner Michael J. Copps stated that it was time for a crackdown on daytime television and indicated that he was reviewing whether soap operas were violating the agency's indecency prohibitions.[59]

Two other major sporting events that followed the Super Bowl that year also were forced to clean up their respective halftime shows following the incident. The Pro Bowl, which would be played on February 8, originally was to feature singer J.C. Chasez, who was a member of boy band NSYNC as was Timberlake, sing the National Anthem before the game and perform his hit song "Blowin' Me Up (with Her Love)" at halftime. However, the NFL would not allow Chasez to perform during halftime due to the sexually suggestive content of his chosen song, (even though cable network ESPN carried the game) replacing it with traditional Hawaiian dancers, which would be more appropriate for the game's atmosphere given that it was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, and many television viewers in the nation were still in shock from the Super Bowl incident.[60] The 2004 NBA All-Star Game also cleaned up its act, despite being broadcast on cable television channel TNT that was not under FCC regulation as with all other cable channels, having halftime performer Beyoncé perform "Crazy in Love" rather than "Naughty Girl", which they feared would incite controversy given its sexual content. Ironically, Jackson was in attendance at the game, and dressed conservatively.[61]

Following these announcements, Guiding Light edited out nudity from an episode that had already been taped. A week later, the show's executive producer John Conboy was fired and replaced by Ellen Wheeler. All nine American network soaps began to impose an unwritten rule of avoiding any sort of risqué adult scenes, and in the months following, soap opera periodical Soap Opera Digest editors wrote about how daytime television was losing its steam.[59]

Nighttime television was not spared the fallout from the Jackson incident, either. For example, an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise entitled "Harbinger" originally included a brief shot of a character's buttocks, but this scene was censored when UPN—itself owned by CBS—aired the episode a few weeks after the Super Bowl event, while Canadian broadcasts of the episode were uncensored. The NBC drama ER also re-edited a scene in an episode two weeks after the incident where paramedics were wheeling an elderly woman into the hospital, and her breast could be seen non-explicitly in the context of her injury and treatment. The media gave much attention to this editing due to ER's standing as the network's top drama.[60]

Also, both the 46th Grammy Awards and the 76th Academy Awards, which were scheduled for February 8 and February 29 respectively, initiated a delay (up to ten minutes) to ensure that profanity and obscenity were not seen or heard. Since then, both award shows have used the tape delay.[10]

The incident also prompted tighter control over content by station owners and managers. Viacom, at the center of the controversy, also employed the controversial Howard Stern in its radio division (at the time called Infinity Broadcasting). The expanding control on content is said to be a contributing factor that drove Stern away from terrestrial radio and onto Sirius Satellite Radio. It has also been reported that some teen-oriented awards shows in the summer of 2004 had also been purged of most sexual and profane content that had been perceived as staples in such awards shows in the past, including the Teen Choice Awards and MTV Video Music Awards, which aired on the Fox and MTV television networks, respectively.[62]

Sports broadcasting

See also: NASCAR on NBC and NASCAR on FOX

Two weeks after the controversy, NASCAR reacted with a stern warning to Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series drivers at the drivers' meeting at their respective races in Rockingham, North Carolina, which later was given to Craftsman Truck Series drivers in Hampton, Georgia two weeks afterwards at their next race, saying in addition to fines, point penalties to driver and team would be assessed for obscenities on air.

A week later, Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter drew a $10,000 fine and a 25-point penalty for using an obscenity during a radio interview at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the Sam's Town 300.[63] In June, Ron Hornaday was fined the same for another radio interview during the MBNA 200 at Dover International Speedway.[64]

The controversy resumed in October when, during an NBC interview, Dale Earnhardt Jr. told Matt Yocum, who had asked Earnhardt about the meaning of his third consecutive EA Sports 500 win what it meant, in comparison to his father's ten wins at Talladega Superspeedway, "That don't mean shit". Producers turned the broadcast immediately to play-by-play announcer Bill Weber, who substituted for an injured Allen Bestwick, who apologized for the mistake. NASCAR did not budge, and slapped Earnhardt the same penalty, which took him out of the lead in the chase for the Nextel Cup playoff, a setback from which he never recovered. [65]

A three-member panel of the National Stock Car Racing Commission of Chairman George Silbermann, former CBS Vice President David Hall, who headed the network's cable operations in Nashville from 1997 (after CBS acquired Gaylord Entertainment's cable television operations) until 2000 (general manager of The Nashville Network and Country Music Television), and former NBA player Brad Daugherty (who once co-owned a Craftsman Truck Series team) heard the appeal, and upheld the penalty, stating Mr. Earnhardt had violated the warning and was supposed to be a role model.[66]

On June 24 2007, Kyle Petty was slapped with an in-race penalty for use of the obscenity "fuck" during a radio conversation during the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, a TNT broadcast. On July 29 2007, Tony Stewart was fined $25,000 and slapped with the prerequisite 25-point penalty for use of the same obscenity uttered by Earnhardt Jr. in October of 2005 during an ESPN interview broadcast over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address system after winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Other sports telecasts have also been affected, even those held long after Super Bowl XXXVIII. When the 2006 Little League World Series began, ABC Sports and ESPN did not impose a delay on its broadcasts, despite the fact that all managers and coaches were equipped with miniature microphones. That changed after an incident late in a preliminary-round game in which a player for Mid-Island Little League of Staten Island, New York, who has not been publicly identified, used an obscenity that was broadcast live on ESPN. In response, the team's manager, Nick Doscher, slapped the player, a violation of a Little League policy against physical contact targeting players. Both the player and manager were reprimanded, and ESPN and ABC imposed a five-second delay on future telecasts.

The NFL also came under some smaller controversies over its telecasts. The FCC received a complaint about a telecast of a playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings from January 2005 on FOX, the complainant alleging that Minnesota player Randy Moss, who scored a touchdown, apparently made movements appearing to "moon" the spectators. However, the FCC denied the complaint because Moss was fully clothed at all times, and his gestures were shown for only a few seconds, thus warranting that the display was not indecent. [67] On January 13, 2007, during coverage on the FOX network of an NFL playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles, after New Orleans safety Josh Bullocks intercepted the ball from Philadelphia wide receiver J.J. Outlaw, the camera cut to the stands, showing for four seconds the words "FUCK DA EAGLES" on a woman's shirt. That drew a backlash from the Parents Television Council, who filed complaints with the FCC. [68]

Subsequent halftime performances

Further information: Super Bowl halftime shows

The following acts have performed at halftime of the Super Bowl since the controversy:

  • Paul McCartney performed at Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida. The performance, mixing classic Beatles songs with some of his solo material, went off without incident.
  • The Rolling Stones were chosen for the slot at Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan. The NFL and ABC, which televised the game, muted some of the lyrics to "Start Me Up" and "Rough Justice", which contained explicit lyrics.
  • Prince performed at the halftime of Super Bowl XLI, played in Miami Gardens, Florida. Prince was once known for his provocative lyrics and sexually-suggestive music videos; yet, since becoming one of Jehovah's Witnesses, this material is no longer a part of his act. However, controversy emerged about a silhouetted camera shot of Prince, projected against a large sheet by a bright light on the other side of the performer. The controversy centered around his guitar, which detractors claimed seemed phallic, critics stating that it "looked embarrassingly rude, crude and unfortunately placed." Though the guitar has been considered by some an extension of a male player's sexuality (especially highlighted by such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, and even Prince himself), supporters of Prince say that the show did not, in fact, become any more sexually charged than usual, noting that "a guitar at waist level does look like an enormous phallus."[69]
  • The Super Bowl XLII halftime entertainment is scheduled to feature Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Glendale, Arizona on February 3, 2008.


  • The Super Bowl controversy was also a subject of comedy all across the late-night television shows, with the hosts generally joking about the hypocrisies in certain public reactions of the show, comparing Jackson's breast with everyday, inoffensive objects, and taking certain ideas out of context.
    • CBS's own Late Show with David Letterman mocked the incident all week following the Super Bowl. Letterman jokingly commentated on the controversy the day after the Super Bowl that he "was happy to see this thing happen...because that meant for one night I wasn't the biggest boob on CBS." He also compared the streaker Mark Roberts to Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. [70] The next day, Letterman compared the exposure of Jackson's breast to Groundhog Day of that year, which predicted six more weeks of winter in 2004, given that both Jackson's breast and the groundhog saw their respective shadows. In his monologue, he also joked that President George W. Bush formed a "Department of Wardrobe Security" to prevent further "wardrobe malfunctions" like this. [71] On February 4, Letterman opened his monologue by joking about having a "wardrobe malfunction" during the program, leading to house band leader Paul Schaeffer shouting and the audience laughing hysterically. [72] Additionally, the "Top Ten Lists" featured on the program on February 4[73] and February 6[74] briefly referenced the incident. On February 13, because the weather in New York City (the city where the Late Show is taped) was abnormally mild, Letterman joked that Jackson exposed her other breast.[75] Eventually, Jackson appeared on The Late Show on March 29.[76]
    • Jackson made fun of herself in a 2004 Saturday Night Live appearance, first while playing Condoleezza Rice, nervously answering a question by exposing her right breast, which was pixelated by NBC, then by viewing a mock "home video" from her childhood when her bathing suit top came off in a wading pool.[77] However, the affiliate of NBC in Portland, Maine along with its' satellite station in Augusta cut the show off and did not air the repeat that season.
    • On NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on February 2, Leno opened his monologue referring to the halftime show as the "Lingerie Bowl", later calling the action of Timberlake exposing Jackson's breast "ironic: for once a Jackson getting molested". In response to Timberlake's claim of a "wardrobe malfunction", Leno questioned, "What, were both breasts supposed to fall out?" Later, Leno also pointed out several hypocrisies in the aftermath of the halftime show, one with CBS considering Jackson's bare breast but not a commercial with a flatulating horse a violation of their Standards & Practices and the other with the FCC immediately investigating the halftime show but the government failing to disclose a reason for the Iraq war. [78] Next day, February 3, Leno referred to the halftime show as "America's Cup" (a double entendre referring to the sailing race and women's breasts), joked about President Bush calling Jackson a "weapon of mass arousal", and applied the statement by then-FCC chairman Michael Powell that the show was a "classless, crass and deplorable stunt" to the NBC series Fear Factor. Leno also pointed out the "XXX rating" he found in the "XXXVIII" roman numeral of this year's Super Bowl and that CBS should have apologized "for Mike Ditka talking about his 'ditka".[79] After CBS announced its use of tape delay on all upcoming live events, Leno on February 4 described the delay as a "booby trap". [80] When Queen Latifah was to appear on the program February 5, Leno warned audience members within "the first three rows to stand back" in case Latifah were to expose a breast. He also reinforced the "sex sells" ideal after mentioning that the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction became a popular search topic on the Internet. Because the next Super Bowl XXXIX was to be broadcast on FOX, known for its raunchy sex-centric programming during the current television season, Leno questioned how "sleazy" the next year's halftime show would be. [81] Later in the month, Leno continued including Super Bowl and censorship references in his monologues, including claiming Jackson's absence from the Grammy Awards that year as a "chest cold"; when Pamela Anderson was to appear on the show February 9, Leno claimed that Justin Timberlake should also have been a guest that day. [82] On February 11, another claim of hypocrisy in the governmental investigation of the halftime show that Leno pointed out was that Congress had "time for a bra" but not on "Iraq or Enron".[83] At the end of Blue Man Group's second performance of "I Feel Love" on the Tonight Show, one of the Blue Men tears off a section of the other's shirt, revealing a heart on his chest. [84]
    • On NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, O'Brien joked about Janet's brother Michael asking what a woman's breast was, referring to Jackson's perceived interest with young children.[79]
  • The Bob Rivers Show parodied the event in the song "Janet's Coconut."[85]
  • Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light beer brand poked fun at the incident in a commercial that was not chosen to air during Super Bowl XXXIX, but rather made available for viewing from their website, in which a stagehand supposedly used Ms. Jackson's bustier to open a bottle of beer, and then uses a piece of tape to repair the damage.
  • South Park took aim at the hysteria in its eighth season premiere, "Good Times With Weapons", on March 17, 2004, when Eric Cartman sneaked across a stage in the nude and later blamed the incident on a "wardrobe malfunction." In typical South Park fashion, the scene was an illustration of satire and depicted the American culture's selective outrage. The townspeople are angered by Cartman's display, rather than feeling concern for a horribly mutilated and disoriented character (Butters) who is also present on stage, referencing the acceptance of violence and the taboo against sexual references.
  • A commercial for Burger King[86] included two male office workers fighting over a Burger King sandwich, with one worker's shirt being ripped open to reveal a nipple shield similar to Jackson's.
  • Richard Thompson wrote and performed a song, "Dear Janet Jackson", mocking the use of her breasts at the Super Bowl.
  • In the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, comedian Dave Chappelle jokingly told MTV that his appearance in the VMA was "the biggest mistake since you put Janet Jackson on the Super Bowl."[62]
  • The Onion, a parody newspaper, ran as its headline article for January 26, 2005, U.S. Children Still Traumatized One Year After Seeing Partially Exposed Breast On TV. The article's satirical target was the nation's reaction to the incident, rather than the incident itself.
  • In a Super Bowl XXXIX commercial for Go Daddy a comely young lady (portrayed by WWE Diva Candice Michelle) who was making a statement before an advertising committee continues to have the right strap of her tank top fall while she is demonstrating how she would be performing in front of the committee (the dance that she was doing would become part of her wrestling gimmick that she uses on the WWE roster); the original commercial included the phrase "wardrobe malfunction", but the words were cut after FCC complaints. This also stirred a bit of its own controversy when a scheduled second airing of the ad and a ten-second plug that was scheduled to be aired at the two minute warning of the fourth quarter were pulled by Fox, who broadcast the game, out of fear that the NFL would have objected about the content of the commercial. Go Daddy received a refund, as well as an apology from both Fox and the NFL several weeks later. They have aired a new ad with Michelle cleaning an office window in a rather sensuous way during Fox's 2005 NFL Playoff broadcasts, and planned a new ad to debut during Super Bowl XL, provided it clears ABC's Standards and Practices officials; however, ABC did not clear the entire ad. Instead, a tamer version aired on game day, with viewers being told to visit the company's website[87] to see the ad in its entirety. The commercial also aired on USA Network the next night as part of RAW, on which Michelle regularly appears. Another ad with Michelle and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick aired during Super Bowl XLI on CBS in 2007, and again during the 2007 running of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC later that year.
  • An episode of Family Guy deals with the aftermath of the "David Hyde Pierce Incident", in which the actor inadvertently reveals his testicles at the Emmy Awards. During the end of the musical number in the episode, several freeze frame images are included with the characters doing sexually-related things. One frame includes an animated Justin Timberlake and Peter Griffin recreating the wardrobe malfunction. Peter is wearing Janet Jackson's outfit from the halftime incident.
  • On an episode of The Office entitled "Halloween", Michael Scott makes it known that for Halloween one year, he dressed up as "Janet Jackson's boob".
  • In the music video for D12's song "My Band", there's a parody of what happened. Eminem also parodied what happened in his song, Ass Like That.
  • In the show Instant Star, Episode 302, Jude's right breast is exposed during a performance. Later while talking to the head of her label she refers to the incident as 'Boobgate' while the head of her label refers to it as a wardrobe malfunction.
  • British Rapper/Producer Fatman Scoop parodied the incident in a concert by removing his top to reveal a cutout star shape stuck over his nipple.
  • In an advertisement for the February 7 2004 episode of Saturday Night Live, host Megan Mullally explains that she will get the episode's musical guest, Clay Aiken, "naked by the end of this promo". She proceeds to rip a piece of Aiken's shirt off, revealing a similar nipple shield, and she begins rubbing against Aiken in a sexually suggestive manner. Aiken replies, shocked, "that was NOT supposed to happen".

See also

  • sharking


  1. ^ Apologetic Jackson says 'costume reveal' went awry. Associated Press (2004-02-02). Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  2. ^ Janet Jackson takes responsibility for breast-baring. Associated Press (2004-02-04). Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  3. ^ Hilden, Julie (2004-02-20). Jackson 'Nipplegate' illustrates the danger of chilling free speech. CNN. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  4. ^ a b c CBS Dealt Record Fine Over Janet. Associated Press (2004-07-01).
  5. ^ a b Ahrens, Frank. "The Price for On-Air Indecency Goes Up", The Washington Post, 2006-06-08, pp. D1. 
  6. ^ Bozell, L. Brent III (2004-02-03). The Super Bowl Sinkhole. Parents Television Council. Retrieved on 2007-12-01.
  7. ^ a b Miller, Zell (2005). A Deficit of Decency. Macon, Georgia: Stroud & Hall, 198. ISBN 0974537632. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Horovitz, Bruce. NFL strives to ensure superclean Super Bowl. USA Today: Feb. 4, 2005.
  10. ^ a b Network looking to avoid surprises at Grammys. Associated Press (2004-02-05). Retrieved on 2007-08-06.
  11. ^ VFW Angry Over Kid Rock Super Bowl Poncho. Yahoo Music (2004-02-04). Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  12. ^ Olbermann, Keith (2004-02-03). Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. MSNBC. Retrieved on 2007-08-05.
  13. ^ Parents Television Council (2004-02-02). "PTC Outraged with CBS' Raunchy Super Bowl". Press release. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b PTC Letters to Editor, first half of 2004
  17. ^ Lester, Will. "Poll: Janet Jackson Act Not Federal Case",, Associated Press, 2004-02-21. Retrieved on 2007-07-27. 
  18. ^ Timberlake: Family Offended by Super Bowl. Yahoo! Music/Associated Press: February 4, 2004.
  19. ^ March-April 2004 - Canadian self-regulation
  20. ^ CBSC Annual Report - 2003-04
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Super_Bowl_XXXVIII_halftime_show_controversy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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