Nipplegate - Incident

Singers Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were performing a duet of Timberlake's song "Rock Your Body" during the halftime show of Super Bowl 38 at Houston's new Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004.

The MTV production featured suggestive dance moves by both Timberlake and Jackson. As the song reached the final line -- "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song" -- Timberlake pulled off a part of Jackson's costume, revealing her right breast (adorned with a large, sun-shaped nipple shield, a piece of jewelry worn to accentuate the appearance of a nipple piercing). CBS immediately cut to an aerial view of the stadium, but it had already been broadcast. Many people considered this indecent exposure and a record-breaking two hundred thousand Americans contacted the network to complain, saying it was inappropriate in the context of a football game.

Jackson and Timberlake stated that the exposure was an accident. Viacom (through both CBS and MTV) the National Football League, Jackson, Timberlake and halftime show sponsor America Online had since all apologized for the Nipplegate incident. (AOL would later be refunded US$10 million by the NFL.) Jackson later admitted the stunt was devised beforehand, but "went further than she planned". According to her spokeswoman, a red lace bra was supposed to remain when Timberlake tore off the outer covering. Timberlake blamed the incident on a "wardrobe malfunction". Because of this incident "Janet Jackson" became the most looked-for term in 2004 for many search engines. However, in a future interview, Timberlake also made a statement saying that he "loved giving ya'll something to talk about."

Subsequently, the NFL announced that MTV, who also produced the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXV, would never be involved in another halftime show. Besides Jackson's accidental exposure, the show featured numerous dancers (alongside rappers Sean "Diddy" Combs, who was nicknamed "P. Diddy" at that time and Nelly) along with other participants in costumes, such as Kid Rock wearing an American flag with holes for the sleeves and collar, which many viewers felt were inappropriate for a sporting event. The theme of the halftime show was intended to promote MTV's Rock the Vote campaign to encourage younger people to get out and vote, but this message was lost in the ensuing controversy, the loose connection between all the acts of the halftime show and the actions that ensued throughout the show.





The Incident

The Aftermath


Other Resources


Nipplegate is part of the Siteclopedia Network of travel and edutainment websites. Media requests and feedback are always welcome - Contact Us