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When Justin Timberlake announced Sunday he would be performing at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show, the first thought for many was: Will Janet Jackson join Timberlake during the performance?
Before the NFL or Timberlake could respond, livid fans took to social media to dispute the league’s decision to give the singer with a halftime spot and not Jackson.
In 2004, the duo performed during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime, but as the two ended Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body,” a wardrobe malfunction revealed Jackson’s nipple for less than a second, spawning what now is referred to as the “Nipplegate” scandal.
The FCC nightmare led to the now-standard video delay during live events. Many argue Timberlake was not negatively affected by the scandal like Jackson was. Rolling Stone reported that the incident at the show, which was produced by MTV, led to a blacklisting of the artist by Viacom, MTV’s parent company, and CBS, the network the halftime show aired on. The blacklisting reportedly led to dismal record sales for Jackson’s “Damita Jo” LP and a dark cloud over the performance until this day.
In light of the impact of the controversial moment, some fans found issue with the NFL inviting one-half of the duo back for a second shot at a drama-free performance. Such concerns were expressed on Twitter.
If Janet Jackson can’t ever perform at the Super Bowl again then Justin Timberlake shouldn’t be able to either 🤷🏾♀️— A Definite Maybe (@Pic_Nikk) October 23, 2017
Alright if Justin Timberlake gets to come back and get a second chance at the Super Bowl so should Janet Jackson.— Alyssa Fisher (@alyssabfisher) October 23, 2017
Justin Timberlake is performing at the Super Bowl ... and Janet Jackson is STILL banned for something HE HAS YET TO APOLOGIZE FOR pic.twitter.com/TfqCESROpk— rohan.gif (@Reauxhanrex) October 23, 2017
Unless Justin Timberlake starts his set by introducing Janet Jackson with an apology and then continues watching quietly while she does 12 minutes of her catalog solo, the Super Bowl can keep this halftime show.— Crystal Methanny (@RafiDAngelo) October 23, 2017
Some even sensed a racial undertone to the missing invitation for a Janet Jackson performance.
OF COURSE Justin Timberlake is the perfect Super Bowl headliner! He'd happily turn on black women who out perform him. #JusticeForJanet— The Last JEWnicorn! (@BHisaRockstar) October 23, 2017
White male privilege is Justin Timberlake getting the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show while Janet Jackson is banned for life. #NotWatching— Briaη 🏳️🌈 (@bridav7) October 23, 2017
Janet Jackson is still banned from Super Bowl shows. Justin Timberlake is headlining.— 👻 sHELLy 🎃 (@ShellySometimes) October 23, 2017
Can't qwhite put my finger on the difference here… https://t.co/Rh85nwEy3G
NFL officials cleared up the rumors Monday afternoon that Jackson is banned from performing.
“No ban, no,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNN. He declined comment on “any speculation regarding potential guests,” and he said there may be no guests. McCarthy went on to describer Timberlake as the “ultimate global superstar.”
Timberlake has not yet announced whether he plans to invite Jackson as a special guest. Jackson is currently traveling across the U.S. for her State of the World North American Tour.