Truth of Super Bowl Nipplegate – ‘set-up’, Janet Jackson backlash and Rihanna warning

Super Bowl fans have been left wondering if we’ll ever see another Nipplegate after the infamous half-time show way back in 2004.

Though it needs no introduction, here’s a brief of what happened for anyone who doesn’t remember that legendary noughties moment featuring Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson.

Performing their Justin’s hit track Rock Your Body during the show, Justin pulled Janet close to his own body and reached over to rip off part of the PVC corset she was wearing – only to reveal her bare breast underneath, with Janet’s nipple only just about protected with a metal cover.

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Fitting, with Justin promising: “I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” in his own lyrics.

Janet Jackson was left with her boob hanging fully out after Justin Timberlake opened her top (Image: Getty Images)

Since then, the question on everyone’s lips has been the same – was the wardrobe malfunction, which took place in front of 100million people, planned?

Janet insisted it wasn’t, and her look of shock up on the Super Bowl stage portrayed that as the truth.

But was it? Daily Star takes a look…

Janet Jackson insists blunder ‘wasn’t planned’

An embarrassed Janet said the blunder ‘wasn’t planned’ (Image: AP)

Speaking on Oprah Winfrey’s chat show two years after the infamous incident, Janet insisted the blunder wasn’t planned – to an extent.

She told the host: “No [it wasn’t planned]. What people don’t understand is he was to take the piece off that he did, but more came off than what was supposed to.”

Oprah replied: “So he was supposed to pull that off and we’d just see the red [part]? And he ripped the whole thing?”

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However, since then, celebrity stylist Wayne Scot Lukas claimed to Page Six that Justin “insisted on doing something bigger than their performance”.

The stylist said: “He wanted a reveal.”

Wayne added: “Janet was going to be in a Rocha dress, and he was going to step on the back of her dress to reveal her butt in this pearl G-string.”

But the plan didn’t make it to fruition and instead Justin decided to pull off her top.

Backlash and legacy

Janet was forced to apologise to viewers (Image: Getty Images)

To say Nipplegate had a huge effect on the future of TV would be an understatement. The incident led to an immediate crackdown of “indecency” in broadcasting, and CBS was fined $550,000 (£458,000) for an indecency violation.

The fine was ultimately voided in 2011, though CBS required Janet to release an apology video after the incident, which many fans branded unfair.

Janet said: “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. It was not my intention that it go as far as it did.

“MTV, CBS, [and] the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever and, unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end. I apologise to anyone offended, including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL.”

Despite the rumours going around, the NFL denied ever placing a blanket ban on Janet ever performing at the Super Bowl again.

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A statement released in 2017 read: “There’s no ban. We are not going to comment on any speculation regarding potential guests. There may be no guests.”

Nipplegate birthed the term “wardrobe malfunction” and is even credited with the birth of YouTube, with millions of people sharing the video the world over.

Justin Timberlake ‘warned’

Janet Jackson had a dire warning for her co-star Justin Timberlake (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Janet Jackson advised Justin against ever releasing a statement about the incident – and said the pair remain good pals to this day.

In her documentary Janet, the star told her brother Randy: “We talked once and [Justin] said, ‘I don’t know if I should come out and make a statement’.

“I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want any drama for you. They’re aiming all of this at me. If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything’.”

The star added: “Honestly, this whole thing was blown way out of proportion. And, of course, it was an accident that should not have happened, but everyone is looking for someone to blame and that’s got to stop.”


Janet Jackson’s fans demanded justice for the superstar (Image: WireImage)

Janet was understandably embarrassed after the incident, and explained: “It’s truly embarrassing for me to know that [140million] people saw my breast, and then to see it blown up on the Internet the size of a computer screen.”

Her humiliation launched an entire Twitter hashtag back in 2018, when Justin Timberlake insisted on upsetting Janet’s fans as he included Rock Your Body in his Super Bowl LII half-time set that year.

The inclusion of the “Nipplegate” track left some fans fuming, as one wrote on Twitter: “Just wanted to remind everyone how absurd it is that Janet Jackson was forever banned from Super Bowl performances and JT wasn’t.”

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Another said: “I wonder if [Justin] understands how much of a dishonourable person he is. Left @JanetJackson to take all of the hits while he played innocent. Now he’s back on the Super Bowl stage?”

2023 odds-on for another malfunction

Singing superstar Rihanna could suffer a wardrobe malfunction this year (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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According to gambling expert Howard Parks, odds that Rihanna would suffer a wardrobe malfunction during her half-time performance at this year’s Super Bowl were hotting up.

The odds of her suffering a wardrobe malfunction were quoted as +500, while for Rihanna to trip and fall over on stage were +1600.

For her beau A$AP Rocky to appear alongside her on stage, the odds were just +200.

Luckily, her wardrobe choices were more secure – though she did confirm that she was pregnant with her second child.


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