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‘Nipplegate’ Controversy: Did Justin Timberlake Leave Janet Jackson Alone?

The infamous moment occurred when Timberlake was supposed to rip off a part of Jackson’s costume, revealing a red bustier.

Instead, an estimated 100 million viewers witnessed an unintended exposure of Jackson’s breast, sparking a massive public outcry. 

The Federal Communications Commission was flooded with hundreds of thousands of complaints, resulting in fines for CBS, the network that aired the Super Bowl. Janet Jackson faced severe consequences, including being cut from the Grammys and enduring damage to her career.

It wasn’t just the surprise reveal that stirred people up. Folks also wondered if it was all planned for press coverage. Both performers said it wasn’t so. But people weren’t only upset with them.

They were also mad at Timberlake for seemingly leaving Jackson alone in the mess. People said that he commonly used aspects of Black culture in his work, which added to their anger.

Meanwhile, Gerrick Kennedy, a scribe and social critic, says people shouldn’t hold onto their anger at Timberlake. He thinks it’s unfair and keeps hurting Janet Jackson more. He suggests we should let this event go. He notes that staying angry takes away the performers’ control over a public mishap.

Despite apologies and attempts to move forward, the incident has left an enduring mark on both artists’ careers. Timberlake, in particular, has been the subject of continued scrutiny, with recent documentaries reexamining his treatment of both Janet Jackson and his ex-girlfriend, Britney Spears, during the early 2000s.

The Super Bowl annually triggers “Nipplegate” memories and prompts fresh demands for justice for Janet Jackson.

Thanks to #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay, these requests are more important. Time has passed, but the incident is still an important one, as shown by Timberlake’s standing in the industry today.

Janet and Justin Timberlake
Janet and Justin Timberlake

Like Jackson, an enthusiastic supporter in 2017, Timberlake emerged successful as the Super Bowl LII halftime show star. Demands to address the past grew as a result.

The mild accusations on social media that he apologized to Janet Jackson during his performance were indicative of the scandal’s lasting effects.

It seems like Timberlake is getting along with Janet Jackson and Britney Spears these days. Even if some of her fans did not like Timberlake’s new song, Spears had positive things to say about it on Instagram.

In her 2022 Lifetime documentary, Jackson said that people were overly emotional about the incident and that she helped Timberlake move past it. They still get along well now.

Like Jackson, enthusiastic supporter Hasan is similar to Jackson, and we agree that harboring intense feelings for long periods is unhealthy.

By sharing that Timberlake was only in his early twenties at the time of the episodes, he highlights the need for us to have compassion for him and acknowledge that people evolve. Clinging to hatred isn’t healthy. People grow and transform.

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