Following Lady Gaga’s stellar high-flying act at last year’s Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake has a lot to live up to this year. One idea that many people are hoping will happen is that will he invite queer icon Janet Jackson back for a reunion after the infamous 2004 “Nipplegate” when Jackson’s breast was exposed after he initiated a wardrobe malfunction.
In a recent interview, Timberlake opened up about that incident and the aftermath. “I stumbled through it, to be quite honest,” he shared with Zane Lowe. “I had my wires crossed and it’s just something that you have to look back on and go like, ‘Okay, well you know, you can’t change what’s happened but you can move forward and learn from it.’”
After the controversy, Timberlake says he “absolutely” took time with Jackson to make amends, adding: “I don’t know that a lot of people know that. I don’t think it’s my job to do that because you value the relationships that you do have with people.”
It’s commonly believed that Timberlake allowed Jackson to shoulder the bulk of public condemnation after the wardrobe malfunction and that he didn’t sufficiently come to her defense. Inviting her for a reunion at this year’s Super Bowl will publicly address the public shaming she endured and is just the right thing for him to do, as he’s been invited back while she’s been banned.
Justin Timberlake officially doing Super Bowl halftime. Dream setlist:
– 9-minute Janet Jackson apology
– "Gone" (w/ *NSYNC)
— Jason Lipshutz (@jasonlipshutz) October 23, 2017
A source told Entertainment Tonight Jackson is totally down, if Timberlake’s people ask. “The door is wide open,” they revealed. “If Justin or his team did reach out, Janet would perform with him again in a minute.”
What is Nipplegate?
During the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, Timberlake joined Janet Jackson for a duet version of his song “Rock Your Body.” The show that year was produced by MTV and was themed around the network’s “Choose or Lose” campaign due to the show occurring during a presidential election year. Other acts that performed were Jessica Simpson, P. Diddy, Nelly and Kid Rock.
At the end of “Rock Your Body,” when Timberlake sings, “And I’ll have you naked, by the end of this song,’ he ripped Jackson’s right breast plate off, exposing her nipple to a live television audience. Following the wardrobe incident, the National Football League announced that MTV would not be involved in any halftime shows in the future. The exposure was broadcast to a total audience of 143.6 million viewers.
Various entertainment companies, including Viacom and Clear Channel Communications, enforced a blacklist of Jackson’s singles and music videos on many music channels and radio stations worldwide; this largely affected her chart performance throughout the course of her eighth studio album Damita Jo released the same year, as well as her following two albums 20 Y.O. and Discipline.
Jackson was intended to appear at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, which was being held the following week, but her invitation was withdrawn due to the incident. However, Timberlake was still allowed to attend and perform at the event
YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim claims that Nipplegate was what led to the creation of the video sharing website. The incident also made “Janet Jackson” the most searched term, event and image in internet history, as well as the most searched person and term of 2004 and 2005. The incident also broke the record for “most searched event over one day.” Jackson was later listed in the 2007 edition of Guinness World Records as “Most Searched in Internet History” and the “Most Searched for News Item.”