CBS Fighting Super Bowl Nip Slip Fine After Six Years
By Brooke Tarnoff Posted Feb 24th 2010 10:30AM
"The incident, while inappropriate and regrettable, was not and could not have been anticipated by CBS," the network said in a statement. "There are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when despite broadcasters' best efforts it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material."
If you've somehow managed to forget, the incident occurred at the end of a duet between 2004 halftime performers Jackson and Justin Timberlake. As JT sang the words "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song," he tore a piece of Jackson's costume, revealing her right breast and a gold, sun-shaped nipple shield.
Breast-Baring Occurs at 5:28 of the Video Clip
Jackson and Timberlake claimed the exposure was accidental -- a claim that gave birth to the now-famous phrase "wardrobe malfunction." We don't buy that for a second. However, CBS immediately cut away from the action on stage; the speed with which Jackson's chest was replaced by an aerial view of the stadium makes us think CBS was not aware of the choreographic particulars in advance.
As CBS said, "inappropriate and regrettable." We think it's uncool that little kids across America saw a flash of unexpected boob. Frankly, we don't think it's that uncool, in the grand scheme of traumatic things kids witness, but we realize it's up to those kids' parents to decide how unwelcome a stranger's breast is in their families. Either way, CBS hit the nail on the head: the Super Bowl is a live broadcast. Unexpected things can, and occasionally do, happen.
The natural result of an outrageously large FCC fine and a few civil lawsuits was the use of a "profanity delay" -- to avoid another scandal that year, CBS employed a tape-delay for the 2004 Grammy Awards. That same year, ABC imposed a video and audio delay on the Academy Awards to protect its audience from any unforeseen obscenities.
So there you have it. Six years have gone by, Janet Jackson's briefly exposed nipple is still wending its way through the court system, and our culturally-significant events are no longer aired live.
And not to put too fine a point on that breast, but if a "won't someone think of the children" sentiment was at the heart of this scandal in the beginning, let's do a little quick math: Any ten-year-old patient enough to sit through Super Bowl XXXVIII and catch a quick glimpse of adult content -- if he even knew what he was looking at -- is now starting to fill out college applications. It might be time to move on.
Ms. Jackson Snapshots
© BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM Singer Janet Jackson is suprised by photographers as she exits the back door of Annabel's night club after a Pre BAFTA party. EXCLUSIVE February 22, 2010 Job: 100223M2 London, England www.bauergriffin.com www.bauergriffinonline.com [KGC-163]
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