Justin Timberlake has been announced as the 2018 Super Bowl Halftime show performer ― but some people aren’t excited to see him hit the stage in February unless Janet Jackson is there.
In 2004, Timberlake was involved in Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during her own Halftime performance. At the end of a duet, the former N’Sync member ripped off a piece on Jackson’s costume, accidentally exposing her breast.
The incident, broadcast live to nearly 90 million viewers, garnered CBS a $500,000 fine from the FCC (which was later thrown out by The Supreme Court). While Timberlake was ostensibly the one responsible for the gaffe, Jackson received a majority of the scrutiny from the media. The singer was banned from that year’s Grammy awards (which Timberlake got to attend), and her singles and music videos were blacklisted by Viacom, which then owned CBS and MTV among other entertainment channels.
At the time, there was some speculation that the “wardrobe malfunction” was in fact a publicity stunt. Both Timberlake and Jackson insisted later that it was an accident, with a representative for Jackson adding in a written statement: “Justin was supposed to pull away the rubber bustier to reveal a red lace bra. The garment collapsed and her breast was accidentally revealed.”
Many pop culture critics have argued that Jackson’s career suffered in the wake of the controversy, while Timberlake’s thrived.
On Sunday, after the Timberlake Halftime show announcement, the hashtag #JusticeForJanet began trending, with fans calling for Jackson to be invited back to perform.
Contrary to tweets from some fans, the NFL itself did not ban Janet Jackson from its Halftime show, as clarified in a statement to TMZ on Monday. In the meantime, neither Jackson nor Timberlake have commented on the possibility of her making a Super Bowl return next year.