Talk:Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy

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International bemusement[edit]

Was the footage re-broadcast in America? Here in the UK Channel 4 news (as well as others) showed the incident (in slow motion afaik). Just wondered if it was worth mentioning the international reaction? -- Joolz 00:23, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Yes. I would say that the international reaction could be characterised as bemusement as to what the fuss was all about. This certainly belongs in the article. Jooler
In Australia is was also shown during news broadcasts. Most of the focus concerned the fuss and not the event.--Tancred 21:47, 2005 Mar 9 (UTC)
Same thing in Germany, and everyone laughed about the "moralist outrage" that took place in the U.S. after that incident that would have been called a minor one in Europe. Just for comparison, in a Tour de France broadcast some years ago an entirely naked man ran for about 100 meters along the track aside the cyclists. No one complained about that and on German TV the scene was re-broadcast in slow motion. So far as to the ridiculously exaggerated reaction to the Jackson incident in the U. S. -- anon
Similarly during the recent British heat for the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 the winner Javine Hylton had a wardrobe malfunction moment. This was of course splashed all over the tabloids the next day but did not register on anyone's outrage-ometer. In fact no-one has as yet bothered to even mention it in Wikipedia's article about her. Jooler 09:47, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Yep only in the USA could they make a big fuss about it. Fining the TV channel for something they had no control over. Very smart.... Cls14 (talk) 00:07, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
After reading this article the whole way through, I still don't understand why it was controversial. Here in New Zealand we have a "boobs on bikes" dispaly every year, when naked women ride motorcycles down the main street of Auckland. I just can't understand all this fuss about one nipple for half a second. I know America's the most conservative of the western democracies, but do people there have issues with public breast-feeding as well? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Brutannica (talk) 19:44, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Right now, the only international reaction formally recorded in the article is from my country, Canada.
Here it was "Oh, brother, there go the Americans again." "If you are American and have a cough, be prepared to take out a mortgage on your house", but a partial breast is a national crisis.
I saw a topless production by the Canadian Opera Company some years back; that is basically official culture. It's legal for women to walk the streets topless here. (But, unfortunately, they do not.)
So it would be illuminating to have some more newspaper reactions from abroad, documented quotations only of course.
Varlaam (talk) 17:14, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Actual picture of the event[edit]

I believe we should have one. Wikipedia does not have a rule against nudity in images, and it would add to the article. Andre (talk) 20:58, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

Well it seems there was an image but something happen to it. What's the deal here, folks? Dec 3, 2006 Dark Rain

I re-added the picture, as I believe that it is not pornagraphic and is relevant to the article. If someone has an image of the event that is panned out and shows the entire screen, however, I believe it would be better suited. As this is the only image we have currently, I believe it should stay until it can be replaced. Naff89 07:32, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

After a long think that picture should stay but only because someone who is dubious enough to type in nipplegate or Superbowl XXXVIII scandal is going to run into a boob quickly anyway. This may be a problem in 5 years or so when people start forgeting but we can leave that picture up until then (it is bound to be replaced). One could say that picture is too extreme in a non-sexual way but that's weak. (MJW) April 5 2007

2004 election flashpoint?[edit]

and also became a flashpoint in the 2004 Presidential Election in the United States

Unless this claim can be substantiated in the body of the article, it should be stripped. Andjam 03:23, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Moving the image to a new article or on top?[edit]

People keep pointing out that this article has set precedent that wikipedia does not need to put the image at the top. From what I can tell, this article is the exception rather than the rule so I ask if anyone would agree to either move the "wardrobe malfunction picture" up top or to create a new article like "Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction" with the picture prominently displayed on top. Hitokirishinji 19:48, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe that for this article it's debatable, because "nipplegate" was not the only issue. But it was the most significant. I think it should be up top.Wynler 19:58, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Looks like Getcrunk has gone ahead and bumped it up. And I for one have no problem with it at all. --Aaron 02:50, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.[edit]

the section mentioning Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a quote: "It doesn't mean bleep" but if it was bleeped out there would have been no problem. I believe the original quote should be stated, and once I find that it was the original quote I will change it

Why does this article start rambling on about Nascar? It's fine to explain how it led to a crackdown by that sport (among others), but then the majority of the aftermath section is devoted to something that really isn't too relevant. 17:35, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Censorship within this article?[edit]

"Kevin Manion, used the S obscenity, which was heard on the Fox television broadcast" In the whole section about nascar, the only "obscenity" actually quoted is "shit". Everything else is put vaguely. I thought wikipedia is uncensored? If someone said "fuck" and got a fine for it then put it down. What the hell is the "S obscenity"??? It sounds very patronising to me. Lukas 07:08, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Riots in Aftermath[edit]

I removed the unsourced entry about "riots" showing up in the aftermath of 'nipplegate' -- a few minutes searching showed that this was completely false.--Grinning Fool 17:53, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Unjustified Speculation[edit]

Saying that her songs and albums afterwards were less popular afterwards due to the incident needs proof. Her music style has become a lot more Pop and a lot less R&B over the years and that I believe is a bigger factor. I can't cite any proof for my opinion, but the article's theory is just as unsubstantiated and under the NPOV policy should be removed.

Impact on Janet's Career section added[edit]

In my opinion, Janet's music has gotten a lot more Urban than Pop, because she's still being played on Urban stations like BET and not on pop friendly stations like MTV and VH1. Her albums, Damita Jo and 20 Y.O., have suffered in sales because of the MTV and pop-radio ban. I pointed this out by providing a link to her discography. I also provided a link to the page of her highest charting post-superbowl single, call on me.

  • Didnt both of those albums still go Platinum? I doubt the Superbowl had that much of an impact on her career.LAUGH90 01:18, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Exactly black and white it is not because her music has gotten more urban it is that the white people do not want to associate with her anymore although with Justin its more than an invite. But I do think it had an impact mainly in the public eye with people other than black. - Migospia 6:32, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

International bemusement[edit]

Again... don't you think it should be mentionned that the rest of the world was downright shocked by... the FUSS that was made about this in America? Somewhere around the beginning of the article if we want this to be have a worldwide view. I'm putting in the banner right now. Jules.LT 18:40, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

This isn't a reasonable application of the globalize template. Most Americans think that the French 35-hour workweek is silly and make fun of it, but that fact has rather little to do with the article. This is an article on an American cultural event; while adding more on International reaction might be nice, it'd be worthy of perhaps a sentence or two at most. That's not something you use a template for. The globalize template is for when something discusses something universal or at least spread all over the world (like, say, "labor union" or "architecture"), and does so in a fashion specific only to its usage in one place, and usually implies a significant rewrite or expansion is required. It would not be used for articles like Teapot Dome scandal, Stolen Generation, or Kalinga War because they don't include Chinese views on the subject. SnowFire 21:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, but because of the American world dominance, US incidents tend to be extensively covered in Europe - and also (I guess) much of the rest of the world. Then the outrage in Europe is over how dangerous the sight of a womans breast is in the US, as we wonder what you were drinking of as babys, huh. Also, someone might add questions why the americans blamed it on the woman, when it was a man who tore of her her clothes.Greswik 20:00, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
SnowFire makes absolutely no sense here, at least I can't see what he means. Of course international bemusement is relative, if it's not a minor thing and if it's properly sourced. And there was a fair share of bemusements expressed by american citizens as well, what the article lacks too. Same goes for the impact on satirical pop culture, like the Southpark episode "Fun with weapons", where the children violently nearly kill each other with dangerous ninja weapons, while the parents only focus on the question why cartman's wiener was exposed for a moment. (talk) 13:15, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
So my impression is more of the kind that the folks driving this article are some of those "severely outraged" ones, and that they can't stand being pointed at.
Americans think the 35-hour working week is "silly"? Really? I think this is quite a different situation, because the incident was widely reported all over the world. The incident is well known in all western countries, and a very high proportion of people reading this article would be non-American. As a non-American myself, I came to this article because I wanted to find out why the nipple exposure was controversial. After reading the article, I STILL can't understand why it was controversial. I think it needs to be stated explicitly in the article why a half-second flash of nipple created such a storm of controversy. It's simply inexplicable to a non-American. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:24, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I think part of the reason that is unexplained is because no one sits to analyze it. Remember, that it is Wiki, which requires sources of some repute. In North America, even North Americans make fun of this reaction, though more to the north, but it is not surprising and implicitly understood, even if they disagree. Within the States, there is a large population of conservative Christians (just think of the reason parts of the States is referred to as the "Bible Belt") for whom public nudity is shameful, a sin. They don't want their kids to be exposed to that. However, people of varying values take pride in sporting events and rely on broadcasting standards to keep things clean or predictable so you know what you personally feel your kids can and cannot watch. Personally, the only reason I cared at all about the event was the choreographed versus unintentional debate - I see nipples every day (okay, my own or sometimes family members as we all try to get ready in the same bathroom). However, out of respect for the large audience and the advertisers(who purchase airtime with consideration of the content and its relation to their image), I think most would agree that unintentional things happen but it is a terrible thing if people mislead the networks/advertisers about the choreography simply for their "shocking moment."... And "Nipplegate" was a little bit of an extreme name considering she was wearing a plate. -- (talk) 23:07, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Citation format[edit]

Since the majority of the citations were done using the ref tag, and the three that did not use the ref tag were done improperly for how they are used, I changed all formats (meaning i changed those 3) to the refs.Daniel()Folsom |\T/|\C/|\U/|(Can you help me with my signature?) 16:22, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Picture Size[edit]

The article looks better with a larger pic - either that one or another - but it was way off visually before (perhaps it appeared to text-heavy) 19:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

The current one's blown up too much. It looks pixelized.-- 08:28, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Well than someone reduce the size rather than just delete the picture ... although I have to admit it did seem kind of text-heavy with the really small one ... danielfolsom © 14:18, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

LOL someone just cut it out! Well the article looks better this way because that breast was so creepy that it looked like vandalism. The simplest idea would be to revet the article. MJW Apirl 10 2007

I'll revert the cut-out - someone reduced the size before- and u can reduce the size too, but don't just take the pic out. Ahhh, classic stupidity from IP addresses #1012: Rather than reduce the size, we like to get really upset and take the entire pic out.danielfolsom © 11:49, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Major Changes[edit]

I tried to clean up the first sections of the article a bit (like the first two). I made a bunch of changes, but possibly most importantly, I added a few sources, so please if you don't agree with the wording and you want to revert, make sure you can keep some of the sources. thanks.danielfolsom 22:07, 30 May 2007 (UTC)


Is there a purpose to the "span" tag around the initial image? If not, I will delete it. TheHYPO 07:07, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Number of complaints to the FCC[edit]

I realize that they are citing two different sources, but can we pick an authoritative source and decide whether the number of complaints to the FCC was "200,000" (section 'The Incident') or "nearly 540,000" (section 'Public Reaction')? -- Pawl 18:02, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Should we have the boob pic?[edit]

People are starting to forget and we now have a good pic. I really don't care because anyone searchs for this is going to run into explict material fast anyway and this is almost an "orphan" article. It is a bit tacky though and anyone who wants it can just GIS it. I just want to end this and move on. MJW October 10 2007.

image replacement[edit]

Can we replace both images with a scaled-down version of this? There is no need to have two photos, and the second one gives the false impression that her boob was blown up to the width of the screen. The photo I've linked to shows her nudity in context of the larger scene, which is what viewers saw as well. Calliopejen1 (talk) 22:34, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


Is this really necessary? It doesn't seem to be encyclopedic language. I won't do something as extreme as (God forbid) EDIT IT MYSELF, because it would just be reverted by the revert monkeys (read:mods) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:14, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

If it's what has been used in the media, then screw encyclopedic language. It's not like we censor things here. EricLeb01 (Page | Talk) 04:39, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Update on fine[edit]

A federal appeals court on Monday threw out a $550,000 indecency fine against CBS Corp. for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction."

--Madchester (talk) 14:43, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Janet & Justin's Reactions[edit]

Shouldn't this article include a section on Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's reactions to this incident? I think at various times they either claimed that it was planned or unplanned. So whether or not this whole incident was purposely orchestrated as a publicity/attention grabber, would be an important point to make. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Concur. I was surprised that this article does not have anything about their explanations or reactions. Also the lead of the article violates WP:LEAD, since it contains information that is only in the lead, and is not mentioned elsewhere in the article. The lead should be a summary of the article. --Elonka 20:46, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
I remember seeing video footage of Timberlake immediately after the incident (he came off stage and they spoke to him) and he was saying it was great that it happened. He was clearly happy that it happened and almost said that he planned it - all contrary to his apologies later and saying it was an accident. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:03, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Career in decline?[edit]

Jackson's career started to decline after the incident. Her first album released since the Super Bowl, Damita Jo, was released in March 2004 to poor critical reception despite high worldwide sales and three Grammy nominations in 2005.

Are high sales and Grammy nominations indicators of a career in decline? Since when was Jackson considered anything more than a commercial artist anyway? Boils (talk) 01:15, 2 February 2009 (UTC)


Who knows how to relate to sixteenths of a second? It is hard enough to relate to a single second. How about we change it to 562.5 ms instead (if we absolutely have to be that precise, instead of just writing "half a second")? --Ysangkok (talk) 20:41, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Tomato, tamato. Nobody's going to relate to anything we put there, be it 9/16 of a second or 562.5 ms. They're just going to understand that the time was very short. We can't put "half a second" there either, because that would be inaccurate. (talk) 02:35, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I think it should be changed to read something like "Just over half a second (9/16 of a second)" or similar. It might sound a little redundant but might help the reading flow a little better. I had to sit and think for a second upon reading that before I realized "Oh that's about half a second". I can relate to 562.5ms quicker because I'm familiar with computers, but not everyone is. Cody-7 (talk) 04:20, 1 July 2009 (UTC)


From my observation, the article mentions nothing about why or how this wardrobe malfunction happened. Was her dress defective? Did Timberlake pull too hard? If any of this can be found in a source, it should be added somewhere near the top along with that short summary of what happened up there. (talk) 02:37, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Before the performance, Jackson told her fans to watch for a "shocking surprise," the dress was specifically designed with a removeable breast piece held on by velcro, and the "malfunction" occurred precisely as Timberlake sang "I'll have you naked by the end of this song" and pulled it off. All of this suggests it being a preplanned publicity stunt. I'll try to find a citation of Jackson/Timberlake ever admiting it as such. (talk) 19:04, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

This should definitely be a part of the article, as the explanation of a malfunction is ridiculous and unexplained. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

The article still requires more of a formal explanation.
And, obviously, the lying and the absurd overreaction are infinitely worse than the (yawn) non-incident itself.
Varlaam (talk) 17:32, 26 August 2011 (UTC)


The picture on the top of the page is not imformative. There should be a picture of what exactly happened. This is essential for this article. Mathijs Romans (talk) 10:32, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Agree, something like this or this, as long as it does not breach WP:BLP. Brand[t] 19:48, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I personally think the image is fine as is, really. I would probably change the caption to something more informative, though; something involving "covering her breast". That would fit the need for information. One of the above pictures wouldn't qualify as BLP either, because it's not libel or an attack... it's a photo shot during an event. But really, you don't want users coming here and spitting out demands to remove the picture for its profanities, even though we go by WP:NOTCENSOR. EricLeb01 (Page | Talk) 04:35, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Therefore a less accurate picture is indicated? This is a very interessting view on WP:NOTCENSOR.--Max Dax (talk) 11:43, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Definitely those photos are better than what we have; the only issue is copyright status of the images. (Heroeswithmetaphors) talk 06:47, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
There's no reason to cover Janet's breasts on the picture. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia which should show the reality, not a train station of moralism. If you wikipedia for "breasts" you'll get pictures of that too. -- (talk) 22:52, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Expansions to this article[edit]

With every one of User5482's expansions to this article so far, there have been POV-ish/problematic edits to come along with them; for example, seen here and here with these reverts (one by me and the latter by an IP). Or even here with this small edit and a revert. The POV problem is that, as seen by User5482's edits, Timberlake is either cast in a worse light than Jackson and/or Jackson is simply somehow cast in a good light. And by "light," I of course mean with regard to criticism/backlash and who is/isn't to blame for the extensive nature of the criticism/backlash and/or the wardrobe malfunction. This is the latest extensive edit by User5482 (+105,057 in size), which I excised of some POV (seen here and here) that made it seem as though the majority view at the time is that the wardrobe malfunction incident was harmless (though that might generally be true outside of the United States); it likely contains a lot of POV messes, but I have not extensively checked that matter yet. So I call other editors of this article, such as Glrx and Arbor to SJ, to weigh in on this matter. I'm not sure how much more User5482 intends to add to this article, but I don't see it as needing to be expanded any further. Flyer22 (talk) 02:13, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

The edit in question was added due to the incident becoming ten years old shortly and to provide a better and full understanding to readers unfamiliar with the issue, as well as due to renewed interest concerning former FCC chairman Michael Powell providing commentary recently. Regarding any "POV" issues, please keep in mind that Jackson is the central focus of the incident because it was her breast exposed and she generated the most backlash from the media. The intention is not to cast either Jackson or Timberlake in any light, however, many sources have cited Timberlake as not receiving the same backlash as Jackson. This is not POV or putting him in a negative "light" intentionally, but rather stating what actually happened following the incident. Timberlake himself was also quoted as sharing the same sentiment.
Regarding the addition of it being "harmless" in one line, I provided legitimate sources saying this in contrast to the other sources saying the opposite. It would only be POV to leave the article focusing on one side, especially considering the source added was a quote from the FCC chairman himself. However, the event is not only significant for its effects on censorship, broadcasting, and legal matters, but was also an important moment in popular culture, which is also deemed appropriate for Wikipedia. The additions help to provide a complete understanding of the incident and its impact, which was undeniably massive, to readers for research or interest purposes. I do not intend to add anything else or expand the article but have fixed a few small issues. User5482 (talk) 02:49, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to explain your line of thinking on this matter. You have made some good edits to this article, and I like the fact that you source your material well. That stated, I see a bias in your edits when you edit this article, and that is clear from the examples I have provided above. For example, there is no excuse for changing a quote, unless changing it is in compliance with the few exceptions made by MOS:QUOTE. There is no excuse for adding the aforementioned material that an IP spotted and reverted. The "harmless" matter? Again, you worded that line in a way that, to me, "made it seem as though the majority view at the time is that the wardrobe malfunction incident was harmless (though that might generally be true outside of the United States)." Using the word many for those who did not see it as harmless, and others for those who did, makes it seem like the others are in the minority (a significant minority)...despite the extensive criticism and backlash involved (which, again, might mostly be a United States matter). I know all about following the sources, and that Wikipedia, per WP:Verifiability, goes by what the WP:Reliable sources state. But Wikipedia also goes by WP:Undue weight. And some, maybe a lot, of the material you have added to this article is WP:Undue weight...including some of the information with regard to criticism/blame and Timberlake.
Also, this article is not supposed to be here to document every single thing about the wardrobe malfunction incident. That is not how a Wikipedia:Good article is written. Wikipedia goes by WP:Summary style. Flyer22 (talk) 03:14, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Regarding the previous edit from over six months prior, I was relatively new to editing at the time and may have made a small edit by mistake. I later added "accidental" due to the Supreme Court eventually throwing the case out, ultimately deeming the incident as an 'accident' of sorts, and based on Jackson and Timberlake's accounts of it happening unintentionally. However, focusing on the current issue of the wording of "harmless", it's worded that way because "many", meaning the majority of sources commenting on this specific issue on the page, express the same sentiment of the issue as relatively "harmless" to the public and an unnecessary controversy. For example, one citation quotes a poll from Time Magazine in which only one third of readers found the incident offensive, which took place shortly after it had occurred. The sources used ultimately deemed the incident as more "shocking" than "harmful", and stated the media over hyped the situation as being more offensive than the majority of the public's actual reaction. Again, it was not intended to place anyone in a "minority" but was determined based on what the majority of sources had stated. But regardless, there are others not in those specific "many" who did consider the act "harmful", which is why the original quotes stating the opposite are still intact.
The edit was not intended to be lengthy to document every aspect on the incident or it could have been MUCH longer. But as stated before, for such a large issue in censorship, legal matters, and entertainment, it seems important to be detailed to give a full summary of the issue, specifically for readers who are unaware or were potentially too young to remember the act happening at the time. Several comments on this talk page requested more detailed information and quotes from Jackson and Timberlake (specifically the "Cause" and "Janet & Justin's Reactions" headings), which I provided. I hope these edits will be found useful and informative, especially when the page will likely receive increased views and research in the next few weeks upon the incident's tenth anniversary. User5482 (talk) 03:57, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I appreciate you further explaining your actions on this matter. I'll eventually tweak anything in this article that I think needs to be tweaked bias-wise. And I thank you for undoubtedly making parts of this article better. Also thanks for fixing this matter; the extreme WP:Citation overkill.
On a side note: If you are wondering why the formatting of your posts are a little different, it's because I WP:Indented them with each of my replies to you. Flyer22 (talk) 23:32, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Again i've been cleaning up the article because: Too much information! There's no point in quoting every single freaking article that recalls this event! Arbor to SJ (talk) 07:42, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Repeated Line[edit]

The following line ""represent[ed] her as a contemporary Jezebel in that her racial and gendered Otherness was often juxtaposed with the 'normalcy' of Timberlake's white masculinity. That is, she emerged in a public discourse as the primary (if not sole) instigator of the lewd act, a scheming seductress who manipulated Timberlake for her own economic gain."" is repeated twice in the "impact on Timberlake" section. Is it really necessary to have it both in the beginning and the end of the section? I'm not too aware of the controversy and the aftermath, just an interested reader who happened to come to the page, so I don't wanna edit it needlessly. Hope nobody minds --Tca achintya (talk) 09:18, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Totally missing the point[edit]

This is probably the worst Wikipedia article I ever read. In the western world outside the US people felt and expressed something between bemusement and shock not about the incident itself but about the obviously moronic reaction of some parts of US society, media and politics. And I bet millions of people inside the US also felt this way (and expressed that too, cf the South Park episode Good Times with Weapons). But in the article only the very small section on Canada gives some hints in that direction while in fact it should be the main point! The article tells exactly what happened but it explains nothing at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:22, 16 June 2014 (UTC)