Retro Rewind: Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson Reflect On Super Bowl 2004

Published: Sunday 1st Feb 2015 by Rashad

Broadcast on this very day in 2004, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake closed – what was otherwise an epic Super Bowl showing – with a five second incident that literally changed the face of television forever.  Not only television, but the career of the show’s leading lady.

While Timberlake arose from the media ashes unscathed and enjoying even higher successes some ten years later, the misadventure led Jackson, a pop icon whose catalog and stage presence combined have arguably yet been matched, down a road to blacklist of almost unrecoverable heights.

By now, you know the story of “Nipple-gate,” as it was affectionately coined, in its totality.  So, instead of focusing on the enormity of its backlash – a backlash, mind you, that’s still seeing its repercussion directly or indirectly impacting decisions made today regarding live television – let’s focus on words from the horses’ mouths.

As we prepare for Katy Perry‘s sure-to-be-epic Super Bowl showing, let’s rewind to 2004 to hear Janet and Justin’s thoughts on “Nipple-gate” and the event that birthed the phrase “wardrobe malfunction”:

Given the inescapable media frenzy that ensued after Jackson’s breast-rearing routine, there were a number of questions that need to be answered:

  • Was it rehearsed?
  • Was it planned?
  • Who authorized it?

First up to answer that question was Justin (start at 2:30):

Janet later took to Oprah to discuss her apology and the Justin’s quote above (start at 4 min mark):

With an arsenal of calls of racism, sexism, and even ageism, Jan-fans still cry foul when reflecting on Super Bowl 2004.  Truthfully, we can’t blame them.  For, the idea that a single, 5 second occurrence could permanently damage the then-30 year career of one of music history’s brightest stars is beyond us.  Next, how she could take the fall by her lonesome, is even further beyond that.

Even more interesting, we can’t help but wonder how different things would be had “Nipple-gate” occurred during the social media era.  For, considering the commendable sales of ‘Damita Jo’ – the album and era that accompanied her industry-wide blacklisting post-Super Bowl – the steam of streaming and social media shares alone would’ve been enough to combat (to great degree) the sting of radio abandonment.

Whatever the deal, the deed is done.

But, we’re more than certain that Justin – who is a mega-seller and ratings winner in his own right – will be invited to play the Super Bowl before his 40th birthday (remember where you heard it first).  If and when he does, he will not be able to escape the wrath of “Black Twitter” and the social media generation who knew Super Bowl 2004 all too well, but, unfortunately, we’re real enough to know their complaints will fall on deaf ears.

Because “mainstream America” will be more than ready to welcome him back into their living rooms.  Janet, on the other hand…we could only hope.

Your thoughts?

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  1. garcon February 1, 2015

    No she shouldn’t forgive him. He threw her under the bus. He left her high and dry. We will never know if it was planned or an accident, but either way he was in on it. She let NSYNC open for her on her 2nd left of the Velvet Rope Tour, and that’s how he repays her. Fukk him!

    • BeyRihLiyah February 1, 2015

      right people dragged her and he got off sky free

    • vic February 1, 2015

      Didn’t they both do the same thing? They both ignored it and it’s not like Janet did more than Justin to defend herself.

  2. Elders February 1, 2015

    The day Janet officially became a hasbeen .

  3. Everyone’s A Critic February 1, 2015

    Shiz happens. Her tit popped out, big whoop. I don’t know how that affected her career?? Americans are extra!

  4. @RealMattPhoenix February 1, 2015

    Damn, when I saw this, I thought it was funny. But after basic perry’s struggle vocals…
    …that is when i’ll get the real kiii

    • britneyraycarey February 1, 2015

      ok we get it! Katy is basic and is doing the halftime show, stfu and get over it

    • LB February 1, 2015

      I have my calendar marked for that circus act. I cannot wait.

  5. xedos February 1, 2015

    The said thing most people did not saw it live because it was so quick,but the television station replay it a million times per day in extreme slow motion. That’s when most people saw it.

    • Everyone’s A Critic February 1, 2015

      That grammar though!!! Mate… Fix it

  6. britneyraycarey February 1, 2015

    She shouldn’t forgive him. In no way shape or form did he defend her, he just left her to die. He’s a king, but he’s trash for that. And then had the audacity to make a song with MJ… White trash

    • Everyone’s A Critic February 1, 2015

      Far from white trash! What was he meant to say.. “It was so shocking and a complete accident” …. DUH. There’s nothing to be said about the situation. I don’t understand why it’s such a big topic

  7. DD1G February 1, 2015

    Viewers complained. CBS’s switchboards were overrun with thousands of calls from home viewers pissed as the sight of Janet’s weird tit. And they and MTV were fined heavily for it by the FCC. They spent the rest of the decade in court over it. Janet should have been the one fined and brought up on charges!!!!!

  8. beyoncitis February 1, 2015

    Deal with it, beyonce took over,and totally b**** slapped janet. Move on, with yonce around janet is not needed or missed.

  9. Stephen February 1, 2015

    HELL NO!!! She should not forgive him… He left her down and dry… He knew what he was supposed to pull off her and it was his mistake on the whole situation.

  10. TimberKING February 1, 2015

    Justin did nothing to Janet to warrant her forgiveness and he shouldn’t be sorry for anything that happened that day. Janet fans are just mad because her career died over it while his continued.

    • London1000 February 7, 2015

      @ TimberKing: Justin Timberfake removed part of Janet’s costume with his hands, so he should have taken the same amount of blame as Janet. Like everyone say’s he threw Janet under the bus and distanced himself from the situation. If it had been Madonna or Miley in the same situation this would have never got so big. There is definitely a racial undertone as Justin never received the same treatment as Janet. The industry destroyed Janet’s career and considering I think she has done really well for herself, releasing a couple of singles with no support from radio or MTV proving she is a strong and an independent woman.

  11. LB February 1, 2015

    Man looking at the way Justin talked back then now, I know I would have called him Mzz Timberflake.

    Anyway, really who cares, Justin you were not really in the line of fire, not because America is harsh on women but because the media was out to destroy the Jacksons. It is amazing what Michael Jackson went through at the hands of the media, Janet was just collateral damage.

    If Beyonce did the same thing today, they’d be kissing her as$, talking about female empowerment and all that other BS.

    He got off lightly.

    Side note: I’ve been listening to Future S**/Love Songs and all I hear is Genuwines music, Timberland is a one trick pony.

    • BossB*tchBeyoncé February 1, 2015

      Is there a time of the day that Beyoncé isn’t on your mine?

      • LB February 1, 2015

        Is that the only thing you read? I was doing a contrast and compare between a media target and a media darling.

        I guess you need to go to school to figure that out.

    • Tyler February 1, 2015

      I honestly don’t think that they would have let any black artist get off lightly.
      Now, had Madonna or Britney Spears did some s*** like that they would’ve gotten a slap on the wrist, just like Justin. Beyonce??? Not so much. The racially bias media loves it when black artist slip just so they can crucify them.

    • RCi February 1, 2015

      Beyonce is attacked for just talking about s**… Beyonce would have been destroyed by the media just like Janet was. It’s a racial thing!

  12. Stephy. February 1, 2015

    This performance was excellent tbh. The choreography, visuals, stage & energy was a 10/10.

    • LB February 1, 2015

      The performance slayed big time. I liked the part when the titty popped out, save the nipple.

    • FutureCIARA February 1, 2015


  13. theone February 1, 2015

    There is no need for forgiveness. Janet ran away from responsibility and Justin wasn’t there to play the knight in shining armor for her and defend himself in the same time. They both acted messy and just because she got scrutinized doesn’t mean it’s his fault. It’s media’s fault.

  14. LB February 1, 2015

    They both got of lightly if you ask me. Janet was still allowed to release music, Justin was still allowed to be around women. Life went on, there’s nothing to forgive.

  15. BossB*tchBeyoncé February 1, 2015

    That incident showed truly how sexist and racist America is. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn he the one that pulled her thing off exposing her breast? Yet she was somehow punished. Forced to make an apology by the network, blacklisted, & even got her grammy invite revoked whilst Justin walked away unscathed.

    • pat February 1, 2015

      But wasn’t it her idea and costume? Wasn’t it her SuperBowl? Wasn’t it her breast?

  16. @RealMattPhoenix February 1, 2015

    Lmao people in the states just love complaining by the looks of it.
    So if you guys know anything about asian culture, it’s moderately conservative ect. And in SK, there was a performance by a girl group and one of the chicks n****** came out during the performance.
    The most backlash she got from her company was her band mates bullying her out of the group, but she wasn’t released from her contract nor was she kicked from the lable.
    And all this happens in seoul, where people aren’t allowed to make out in music videos

  17. Tyler February 1, 2015

    His career skyrocketed and hers took a HIT.

    It pays to have the COMPLEXION, for the protection, to get the collection…If you know what I mean.

  18. DEL BEY February 1, 2015

    DEAD at the use of that picture. Poor Janet, she never quite recovered from that, and Justin didn’t receive any lashback tbh.

  19. Royalkev February 1, 2015

    Well he publicly threw Janet under the bus, but he publicly spoke out about the double standards that Janet had to deal with. I actually feel that’s the best way to right a wrong of that sort. Unfortunately, what’s so disappointing about that is JT not realizing that timing is crucial. Janet was in the line of fire and he did nothing to put out a single flame when it mattered most. I understand somewhat, Justin was a new artist (with only one album/era under his belt). JT was worried about his career being sabotaged down the line. So he had to make a choice and live with it! SB really tarnished Janet’s impeccable career. At the end of the day JT wasn’t standing in her corner. That’s just something most people wouldn’t be able to forgive… and who can really blame them.

  20. DEL BEY February 1, 2015

    Iv’e started a new blog guys, drag your shady selves over there and have a look, support a sister.. x

    and can that tramp stamp, lamb chop slayriah try and resist the urge to spewww the vileness from within her this time.

  21. Novi February 1, 2015

    Janet is a flop. If that was enough to kill her career then it wasn’t worth much. MJ was better anyways.

  22. FutureCIARA February 1, 2015

    FAWK JUSTIN!!!!!


    None the less, Janet is still ICON and that performance made HISTORY!
    She will have a comeback greater than ever!

  23. TheElusiveLamb February 1, 2015

    I’ve always felt no matter what JT did, the performance was amazing. Regardless of what happened, Janet is still an icon who’s influence, swag, and blueprint can not be denied. I’ve seen Janet live twice since, and I’ll never forget her looking at my BFF right in his face and saying, “They’ll never stop me.” That my Internet family is why Ms. Jackson will never be dethroned.

    • FutureCIARA February 1, 2015

      Thats a great story!

      She will never be stopped!

  24. AdamMonster February 1, 2015

    Who cares? What I find interesting is how fast the world basically moved on from Janet after. Nobody misses her except her old stans.

  25. Lmfao_Hoe February 1, 2015

    F*** JT, he was always n still til this day overrated as f***. I don’t understand what ppl see in his ass? He ain’t that cute or handsome he’s average in looks. He ain’t no Brad Pit, George Clooney, Channing Tatum or Orlando Bloom. His artistry is nothing amaze, can’t dance, or sing live for s***. If it wasn’t for Pharrell and Timbaland help in his albums, he’ll be just like his other band mates, irrelevant. There are plenty of black n white -> Jon B., Robin Thicke, Daley, and Mayer Hawthorne R&B artists tha can top him and have quality R&B songs than him.

    It was so cringe worthy when they put his ass on Michael’s single (Love Never Felt So Good) last year -.- like if Mike didn’t make a track with your ass when he was alive, why now? And should Janet forgive him?? I’ll say hell no. He’s just like Iggy, using black culture for his own intentions and succeeded in ruining a legend ‘ s career. And please save your bs excuses on he was a new artists, he knew what he was doing (even claimed to ne Janet friend “backstabber. The one who ripped her bra in the first place smh.

  26. Truth February 1, 2015

    When your whole career is built around your last name and who your brother is, it’s amazing how easily the bottom can fall out from under it, isn’t it? Janet released 3 horrible albums after that whole episode that even many of her own fans have said were crap. She even had to cancel a tour due to poor ticket sales. All the SP fallout did was fast track the inevitable. Stop using Justin as an excuse for near catastrophic decline. She’s responsible for maintaining her own career.

    • Lmfao_Hoe February 1, 2015

      What are you talking about? Damita Jo, 20 years album, and Discipline were all 3 excellent albums. Discipline should had been received well cause it still is a good album. And the visuals for Feedback n Rock With U are great.

      • LDC February 1, 2015

        Those albums were far from excellent. Damita Jo sounds like a bunch of tuneless leftovers from All For You. 20 Y.O. is the biggest, steamiest sonic turd I ever heard. And Discipline was all around forgettable. None of those albums had any real potential and probably would have still tanked even w/o the media backlash.

    • smh February 2, 2015

      This is FAR from the truth! Why didn’t those other Jacksons succeed! Janet was MAJORLY blacklisted after that. You stupid don’t know s*** and the media has done one incredible job of erasing that!

  27. Fco. Pastrana February 1, 2015

    5 seconds? the nipple was visible for only 9/16 of a second!

  28. MISHKA February 2, 2015

    He will not be able to escape the wrath of “Black Twitter”


    Come on now, he was 23 back then.

    If Black Twitter can give second chance after second chance at Chris Brown for doing “young dumb sh!t” they certainly can leave JT alone.

    Plus it was rumored they used to date before so maybe, as a budding solo artist he din’t want to bring light to that as well.

  29. Suicide Blonde February 2, 2015

    Forgive him for what exactly?, this was a publicity stunt, Janet wanted the ‘it’ boy of the moment to do the whole thing, (there were rumours that she was f****** him too), America didn’t take the thing well, oh blame JT, get over it, he’s a man, fake incident or not, he would have get a pass anyway, she’s a woman, if you want to be controversial then you should be able to face criticism with dignity, she acted like she was a victim when she wasn’t, if anything she should apologize to JT for making people believe the supposed accident was his fault, i mean, the woman was even ready, have you seen what she was wearing?, i’m tired of Janet fans blaming everybody for Jane’s mistakes. Britney survived 2007, so why can’t Janet survive a SB backlash?. That’s the difference between her and Madonna, while Janet shows her nipple by “accident”, althought something was covering the thing, then she run away like she never wanted to offend America, Madonna released a book of naked pictures, shows hes tits in documentaries, Jean Paul Gaultier’s shows and kiss two post-adolescents girls on national television, all that while acting like the proud b**** that she is. JT iremains unbothered by your complains.

    • smh February 2, 2015

      B****, you’re stupid! NO, the rip was planned, but NOT the exposure of her breast! You idiot ass Madonna stans will have to realize that Janet didn’t need controversy like Madonna’s nasty, c*** ass! DEAL!

  30. Ruiz February 2, 2015

    You’re all just bitter Justin still has a career while Janet was swiftly demoted to D-list. What’s gotta suck [for Janet stans] is that while you’re carrying a 10+ year shoulder chip at JT, the rest of the world isn’t. The GP couldn’t care less about how he allegedly threw her under a theoretical bus. You saw how embraced he was when he came back. Think Janet will be greeted with the same way? Nothing goes Janet stans way. She can’t get a hit song, she can’t get a R&RHOF nomination, she’s constantly overlooked or rated low whenever they compile those best-of artists list. Now theres rumors that she might have to resort to playing Vegas. Ha. I love it.

    • smh February 2, 2015

      Justin Timberlake fans make me so f****** sick! He F***** up by pulling off too early and pulling too much off! Justin STILL feels guilty to this day! You better thank your lucky stars that he’s white because let a black artist pull Janet’s top off they BOTH would’ve been ass out!

      • Ruiz February 2, 2015

        “Justin Timberlake fans make me so f****** sick!”


        Well that sounds like a personal problem to me. ~shrugs~ Sorry but I don’t know the good number of a shrink to give you to help you cope with reality. The only advice I can give you is be to stop being the fan of a washed up has-been who few care about anymore and maybe the truth won’t sting so much. Whether Justin is white, black, orange or neon, the bottom line remains that he still has a career, is generally embraced and isn’t the target of anyone’s laughable anger else except for bitter Janet fans who’re simply mad because she’s over the hill and disregarded and need someone to blame for it.

    • smh February 3, 2015

      He’s a big b****! He f***** up and didn’t fess up to his mistakes. Justin fans hate to admit that he’s foul. And since when doesn’t Janet have a career? Janet is PURPOSELY out of the spotlight. Janet TURNED DOWN deals just to live her life. These younger artists out here actually want to work with her. She isn’t soliciting them. It’s funny that you know about Janet, but you aren’t denying that she’s amazing and overlooked because of that pansy-ass f**? Fascinating.

  31. Expressive February 2, 2015

    Get over it.

    • smh February 3, 2015

      F*** off! She’s still blacklisted and banned!

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