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Thirteen years after the most infamous moment of any Super Bowl halftime entertainment show, one half of the duo that created Nipplegate has been invited back to perform. The other half, Janet Jackson, has not.
Their 2004 performance, in which Timberlake ripped off Jackson’s costume to reveal her pierced nipple, brought the term “wardrobe malfunction” into the lexicon.
Amid the massive controversy at the time, Timberlake said it was an accident and later apologized, while Jackson said, “It was not my intention that it go as far as it did.” Her representatives explained that a red lace bra was supposed to be revealed and not her entire breast.
But Timberlake has now been exonerated, and Twitter users were outraged that the same sense of forgiveness has not been extended toward Jackson—who, according to TMZ in this 2014 report, is still blacklisted from performing at the Super Bowl.
Unless Justin Timberlake starts his set by introducing Janet Jackson with an apology and then continues watching quietly while she does 12 minutes of her catalog solo, the Super Bowl can keep this halftime show.— Crystal Methanny (@RafiDAngelo) October 23, 2017
Justin Timberlake officially doing Super Bowl halftime. Dream setlist:— Jason Lipshutz (@jasonlipshutz) October 23, 2017
- 9-minute Janet Jackson apology
- "Gone" (w/ *NSYNC)
Janet Jackson should get Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl Half Time slot. pic.twitter.com/5ocJoUtUd0— Tyler Dwiggins (@T_Dwiggs) October 23, 2017
Soon after the news broke, the #JusticeForJanet hashtag was created on Twitter.
This is misogyny and white privileged at work ladies. I’m not worried cause majority isn’t here for it #JusticeForJanet— ً (@LuxxSOCIAL) October 23, 2017
During the reveal on Sunday night, NBC showed a taped interview with Justin Timberlake when Mike Tirico asked, “At any point … did [the NFL] say, ‘Hey, last time, there was a little wardrobe thing. Can we make sure that doesn’t happen?’”
Said a chuckling Timberlake: “Yeah, that won’t happen this time.”
“We are not going to comment on any speculation regarding potential guests,” the NFL told TMZ. “There may be no guests. Along with Pepsi, we’re excited to have Justin Timberlake.”
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.