It Has Been 20 Years Since the Super Bowl ‘Nipplegate,’ the Wardrobe Malfunction Heard Around the World
On February 1, 2004, huge stars Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson teamed up for an epic Super Bowl halftime show. With over 100 million viewers watching, Timberlake and Jackson were performing Timberlake’s hit song “Rock Your Body.” During the lyric, “Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” he was supposed to rip off her top to reveal a sexy red bustier. Things didn’t quite go as planned and he accidentally ripped everything off, flashing her breast. She quickly recovered but the incident became a huge scandal. People began complaining to the Federal Communications Commission, CBS was fined, and Jackson took the brunt of the backlash.
The stars were accused of doing it on purpose. They denied it and apologized but it seems that Jackson still took more flack than Timberlake. Even now, some fans blame Timberlake for letting her take the fall. Now, it has been 20 years since the incident and some fans are seemingly still angry about the whole thing. In 2022, Jackson opened up about the controversy in her documentary and said, “We talked once, and he said, ‘I don’t know if I should come out and make a statement.’ I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want any drama for you. They’re aiming all of this at me.’ So I just said if I were you, I wouldn’t say anything.”
She continued, “Of course, it was an accident. That should not have happened, but everyone is looking for someone to blame, and that’s got to stop. Justin and I are very good friends, and we will always be very good friends. We spoke just a few days ago, and he and I have moved on, and it’s time for everyone else to do the same.”
These days, the Super Bowl halftime show is a huge production and something even football haters tune in to see. While the halftime show began in 1967, then, it just featured university marching bands and wasn’t the spectacle it is today. It was the 1990s when they decided to feature major artists beginning with New Kids on the Block at Super Bowl XXV (1991). In 1993, Michael Jackson performed and truly made the halftime show what it is now.
This year, Usher is set to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show on February 11, 2024.