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FCC to probe Janet Jackson’s breast

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The latest development in the brouhaha over singer Janet Jackson baring a breast during her halftime show at the Super Bowl is an FCC complaint.

An outraged Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell on Monday ordered an investigation into the broadcast of the Super Bowl’s halftime entertainment show, during which singer Janet Jackson’s right breast was exposed.

During the break in the National Football League‘s championship game, pop singer Justin Timberlake reached for Jackson as they sang a duet and tore open part of her black leather bustier.

“That celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt,” Powell said in a statement. “Our nation’s children, parents and citizens deserve better.”

Television networks are already on the defensive, with the FCC taking a more aggressive stand against indecency over the airwaves and Congress threatening to sharply raise the fines for such incidents.

Viacom Inc.’s CBS television network, which aired the show, and MTV, which produced the halftime bonanza, apologized for what they described as an unscripted moment.

A spokesman for CBS had no immediate comment on the probe and a Viacom spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Powell, one of my least favorite boobs, echoes the hysteria quite a few people have been expressing in regard to the incident. Ward, a commenter at Blogcritics, is typical.

. . .It isn’t a big deal until it affects YOU. True, this is a free society and we all have certain freedoms. However, MY freedom is to only view controversial (kon-trow-verse-yee-all) material at MY discretion. I would not have been watching, nor allowed my daughter to watch the pitiful descent into primal lust of anatomy that was displayed tonight.

The response seems vastly out of proportion to the offense to me. Though some children saw the brief flash of forbidden flesh, I doubt they were harmed by it. If they were alarmed, it is more likely because of their parents’ agitation.

I suspect the FCC’s investigation of this titillating episode will turn out to be much ado about nothing. It seems unlikely they will find any proof the baring of the breast was intentional.

Note: This item is from a news column at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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About The Diva

  • Alexander Finch

    Why is America all up in arms about this piffling little incident when we have soldiers dying in Iraq *every* day after “the war is over”, a man in the White House who wasn’t elected, oil drills poised to destroy the Alaskan Arctic wilderness to keep those wonderful SUVs on the roads and millions of jobs have been shipped overseas, never to return again.

    Has everyone simply gone stark, staring mad? Can no one recognize a real problem when it comes up and bites him/her?

    Take all your wonderful energy and go out and change our society w/ it!

    Vote Democrate before we all starve.

    2004 – The End Of An Error

  • Totem

    I really didn’t see the incident because the half-time entertainment was so boring and inappropriate for a football game.

    And I don’t give a fig for Janet Jackson’s actions…..after all, she’s out of that Jackson family, right?

    It apparently was over in a few seconds, and I doubt anyone was damaged, except by their parents’ over-the-top reactions, as some wise person has already mentioned.

    At least this may put a stop to the practice of showing live MTV videos at half-time. Let’s see the marching bands, flag twirlers, majorettes and fun stuff normally associated w/ football! It must be really awful to pay so much money to see a big game and have to sit in the stands and watch the half-time show on a TV monitor!

    It isn’t about wholesome or immoral, it’s about good entertainment or poor.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming…..:-)

  • I dont see the huge deal in this. I understand that younger kids may have been watching, but they should know what the female body is like already. Either through school or from the parents talking to them. If they do not, or if they were shocked, than it is probably the cause of the parents reaction and not directly from the child. I do understand the problem with how it was executed though. Also, I seem to recall an award show where someone came out wearing nothing but a pastie on one breast. I may be wrong, but I believe it was the Grammy awards and Lil Kim that was wearing that. Also, I believe it was Whitney Houston that fondled and played with Lil Kim’s breast as well, yet no one cried and screamed about that. I believe because of the large amount of big name singers at the Grammy awards that more teen-agers and younger people would be watching it as well. Certainly more than would want to watch football I would suspect.

  • Steve


    America finally got to see a breast.
    It is actually pathetic to hear all of this screaming and hollering about a ody part.

    Especially form the MOST sexually oppressed country in the world.
    But a country also with the highest amount of rapes, pedophils, and sexually diseases.
    That is a fact.
    Here in OLD Europe, you can see a breast almost everyday if you want to : )

  • jg

    It is seriously time for this country to grow up. When we glorify violence and 5 minutes later decry sexuality we send a simple message to the kids we’re trying to protect: fightin’-good, luvin’-bad. And they’re supposed to grow up adjusted?

  • Monique

    Funny…we can show war, violence, bloodshed, destruction every day on every channel and nobody does a thing. Someone shows some skin and everyone gets bent out of shape. Is this a little backwards, or is it just me?

    Check out any news website from elsewhere in the world. The majority of them are saying how absurd and what a waste of time all of this is.

    I don’t get it. Why is this country so moved by cheapness? And why do we not make a big deal out of the right things?

  • JR

    I think the halftime started closer to 8pm EST. And news reports said that the president had gone to bed after the first half.

    But that still seems early to me.

  • Mr. Flanagan, RE: #2, I was somewhat intrigued by your statement:

    “there were several children in our room of various ages who were allowed to stay up for the Super Bowl because its bigger than Christmas now”

    ok .. you must be EST (or out of the US altogether), because it was 3-6pm Seattle time, 5-8 CST and 6-9pm EST. The halftime show was around an hour and a half into it which means that 7:30pm EST (4:30pm PST), which is just after dinner time in many households.

    If you are on the West coast, then those kids must be going to bed mighty early in your parts.

  • Michael Powell has no problem with those ads, but he does with Janet’s boob.

    I think you have a good point, though, lets not underestimate the entertainment value of hearing that erections lasting four hours necessitate medical attention. I think the difference here is that we didn’t see any pictures of four-hour-long erections, or the actual shaved groin area, or the small mutt hanging from the man’s crotch.

    It was innuendo vs. the obvious; connect the dots vs. HELLO! Thats Janet Jackson’s breast!!!

    Just my opinion on the matter. 🙂

    David Flanagan

  • I’ve posted a second day, post-apology entry here.

  • Oh, Michael Powell has plans, I suspect. Po-lit-i-cal plans. Just like the other parties in the saga is he out to exploit it. Here’s an opportunity to reap name recognition the head of the FCC doesn’t usually get. I will not be surprised if Powell picks up where J.C. Watts left off. (The good aspect of that is poor Watts was wandering around in no man’s land and Powell will be, too.)

  • Is it not also ironic that so much fuss is being made over one visible tit, while during the game we saw competing commercials for Levitra and Cialis, two new drugs to help you get an erection for up to four hours (at which point you may need medical attention), and two Bud beer ads focused on male genetalia: one featuring Cedric the Entertainer getting a bikini wax in error, and the other featuring a dog biting a guy’s crotch so that he will release the bottle of beer he’s holding.

    Michael Powell has no problem with those ads, but he does with Janet’s boob.

    Double standard, complete hypocrisy.

  • An intention to reveal the breast and an intention to reveal a bra, even a red one, are quite different. However, I do believe Jackson was naive to go along with such a plan. Since she needs MTV more than it needs her, it was foreseeable who would end up holding the bag.

    I threw away my last red bra after it ruined a load of laundry. However, I will be adding one to my Amazon gift lift in case anyone wants to replace it.

  • Well, here is the answer to what every common-sense person already knew:

    “In a statement released Monday night, Jackson apologized and said it was a last-minute stunt that went awry.

    The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals. MTV was completely unaware of it,” she said. “It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. I apologize to anyone offended — including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL.

    Jackson’s official Web site was bombarded with angry postings. Her spokeswoman, Jennifer Holiner, said a red lace garment was supposed to remain when Timberlake tore off the outer covering.”

    The “red lace garment” is a bunch of bull as well. If you look at the picture posted with the article, it runs only along the top edge of the cloth, it couldn’t possibly have covered her.

    Glad that mystery is solved. Now I can sleep at nights.

    David Flanagan

  • Erik

    Again I say, GROW UP.

    Randy, Thank you for pointing out how ridiculous these people are

  • It’s not actually a pastie, it was a piercing (is that how you spell that?). There’s some clear high res images available.

    For anyone who managed to miss it, here’s the video:

    Click for Janet Jackson nipple slip Superbowl segment.

    Now, we can get back to our regularly scheduled beer ads and violent football, right?

    -Janet Love

  • Are people picking peanuts outta that shit?

    Man, the hype over this non-event is so over the top. There’s a scene in a Womack novel where a nipple clamp does a stigmata on a guy.

  • For those of us outside the USA, it’s another classic case of “Only in America would anyone give a rat’s ass about something so minor and trivial.” Good grief, people, get a grip! A bit of tit was shown for a nano-second. No one gives a shit, except the Right, with their moral compasses in one hand and the Bible in the other.

    Like Hal 9000 said to David Bowman on the Discovery, “I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly,
    take a stress pill, and think things over.”

    Mac Diva is right – there is little difference between sports and entertainment. And as for Timberlake, I think he’s given us another phrase that will make it into the vernacular: wardrobe malfunction. Brilliant! My American friends: forget about Janet’s titty. Relax and worry about those missing and non-existent WMDs…

  • I’ll tell what I bought today. I purchased . . . hold your seats, everyone . . . Loosen your collars. Get a barf bag just in case. I scored Number 1s. Wait. There are extenuating circumstances. I had some money on a Sam Goody gift card left over from Christmas and I’ve been known to misplace those things or let’em expire, so. I bought Number 1s.

  • From the lact-tious bumper they’ve given’n us on the CBC I think the whole USA has gone just boobie-tatious.

    Uhm, just everyboobie take a deep breath, okay?

    It’s not like she stroked her clit while Justin was corn-holed by Toby Keith.

    So people just calm down.

    What you need to realize, what did you buy today?

  • I looked at several newspapers from different states at Starbucks and Rich’s this evening and it made we wonder if perhaps this story is being overplayed on the Internet and in the blogosphere. Not one of the papers led with the titillating tale on either the main front or entertainment front. Nor does the story seem to be on people’s minds in general conversation. Perhaps folks are more down-to-Earth than we are gathering as ‘Net heads.

    Something else that strikes me is that many men seem to be looking at only part of the pictures and video. Yes, the breast is saying “Hello, how’s it going?” But, Jackson’s face is saying, “Oh, no you didn’t,” while she glares at Timberlake. Maybe it was planned. But if so, she is a good actress.

  • It seems unlikely they will find any proof the baring of the breast was intentional.

    so, do people generally wear nipple shields underneath their clothing? seems like it mighta been there for a reason.

    ….and, man, it’s a good thing that the kids in the room didn’t get to see a nipple. heck , they’ll be damaged for life. they might go right out and start cussin’, rapin’ and smokin’ crack.

    bring on the fcc!!!


  • John Mudd

    If they’re going to crack down on this they need to crack down on stars using the “F” word as well, to keep children safe and respect families.

    Personally, I think it would be fine if both were not on mainstream TV. For all the other stuff we have HBO, Showtime, etc.


  • Frankly, I was more offended by Nelly and Kid Rock than by Janet. I am even more offended by the “oops, it was a wardrobe malfunction” bullshit. But none of these things upset me as much as an FCC investigation into this. Isn’t there something more important gummint types should be doing?

  • I try-:).

  • Eric Olsen

    MD: “Powell, one of my least favorite boobs” – classic

  • It seems unlikely they will find any proof the baring of the breast was intentional.

    Proof other than common sense you mean? I missed the incident as I was chatting with my brother, but there were several children in our room of various ages who were allowed to stay up for the Super Bowl because its bigger than Christmas now, and none of the parents there, including myself, thought it was very smart.

    Corrupt? That could be argued. What is not arguable is that it was stupid, immature, and something that artists like to do in place of demonstrating real talent.

    I would agree that the NFL has its own problems with integrity, but at least Timberlake and Jackson, as well as MTV, CBS, and their parent, Viacom should fess up instead of trying to first shock us and then act shocked, rigghhhhht! And I have some “water-front” property to sell ya. 😉 If you are going to do something like this, at least show the courage of your convictions. Its their cowardly flight from responsibility that I find the most offensive. “I apologize for the clothing malfunction.” That line alone was more amusing than all of the Super Bowl commercials combined.

    David Flanagan

  • As I’ve said on the oldest of these threads, the irony of creating a dichotomy between sports and entertainment is lost on too many people. They are largely the same. So, to paint the Super Bowl as wholesome, despite all the immoral behavior involved in college and professional sports, while claiming MTV is the font of all evil, is ludicrous. Contemporary music culture can’t corrupt sports becasue sports are already corrupt. Michael Powell and other Right Wingers are deluding themselves.