Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed together and one of pop culture’s most talked about TV moments happened. Timberlake exposed Jackson’s nipple — causing one of FCC’s biggest controversies.
Now ten years later, former chairman Michael Powell said the FCC overreacted.
He said it was out of his hands — having to do his job and having to act more outraged than what he really was.
“I think we’ve been removed from this long enough for me to tell you that I had to put my best version of outrage on that I could put on,” he said.
Regardless of 500,000 complaints, the FCC took it too far.
Powell blasted Jackson and Timberlake in the news media. And in 2012, FCC went to the Supreme Court to fine CBS — who airs the Super Bowl — for public indecency. The Supreme Court denied the fine.
“Part of it was surreal, right? Look, I think it was dumb to happen, and they knew the rules and were flirting with them, and my job is to enforce the rules, but, you know, really? This is what we’re gonna do?”
But the damage has been done. It’s been done particularly to Jackson’s career. She refused to apologize for something she had no control over. She remains one of popular culture’s biggest icons of all time. But post-Super Bowl her albums and singles haven’t done as well.
Timberlake did apologize for the incident. His popularity has increased.
Is Powell’s explanation a little too late?
And now the infamous incident as it happend: