I was a little surprised last week by how quickly my post in defense of Justin Timberlake’s musical oeuvre turned into a fierce comments-section debate over JT’s precise role in Janet Jackson’s notorious Super Bowl ‘04 “wardrobe malfunction.” I probably shouldn’t have been, given that EW named Nipplegate the No. 1 celeb scandal of the past quarter-century just last month, but still, I hadn’t quite realized that people still felt so strongly about that subject three years after the fact.
Turns out you’re not the only ones mulling over that particular debacle at the moment. CBS is in court this week re-appealing the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission slammed them with for broadcasting the notorious split-second slip. I’m rooting for the network all the way. That’s mostly because I’m never comfortable with moralistic Washington bureaucrats regulating pop culture, but the FCC’s arguments this time around are just laughable. “FCC lawyer Eric Miller argued that CBS was indifferent to the risk that ‘a highly sexualized performance’ might cross the line,” the Associated Press reports. “Timberlake sang the lyrics, ‘Gonna have you naked by the end of this song,’ and that’s exactly what happened, Miller said.” Well, gee, it’s a good thing that Timberlake hadn’t written his 2006 songs “Chop Me Up” or “LoveStoned” yet — just imagine the rampant on-air violence and drug use CBS would have been forced to anticipate with lyrical images like those in the mix!
The network’s lawyers, of course, say they did everything they could to prevent any on-air mishaps. Do you buy that argument? More importantly, have your feelings on Nipplegate changed at all over the past three years? I’m curious whether anyone’s outrage has cooled — or if there’s anyone who’s actually grown more offended by the incident with time. So how about it?