Left/Right TV is gonna have you questioning everything you knew about the term “wardrobe malfunction” by the end of this doc. The production team behind the Framing Britney Spears documentary are reportedly at work on a new film about Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s infamous 2004 Super Bowl Halftime show and what became known as “Nipplegate”.
“It’s going to be all about the fallout and the suits who fucked over Janet [at] Viacom,” a source told Page Six. “They’re reaching out to everyone who was involved: dancers, stylists, directors. Everyone.”
For those unaware of how “wardrobe malfunction” entered the lexicon, it was how Timberlake explained what had happened during Super Bowl XXXVIII. Performing as a surprise guest during the Halftime show, Timberlake ripped off a portion of headliner Jackson’s costume while singing the “Rock Your Body” line, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” While he was allegedly only meant to remove the breast plate of Jackson’s outfit, he “accidentally” tore her bra with it, momentarily exposing her breast and nipple, which was partially covered by a nipple shield, to a TV audience of 140 million.
The incident and Janet Jackson became the most searched-for terms of all time, while the fallout was swift and damaging. While Timberlake went on to release a smash album in 2006, FutureSex/LoveSounds, Jackson was essentially blacklisted from Viacom-owned networks like MTV and CBS and saw her career all but halted. Jackson was also tacitly banned from playing the Super Bowl again, while Timberlake headlined in 2018.
“Nipplegate” spread beyond the two performers, as the FCC crackdown on “televised indecency” hardened after the incident. They also levied a $550,000 fine on Viacom, though that was eventually voided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2011.
Left/Right TV will seek to unravel what really happened during that February 1st, 2004 performance in their new doc. According to reports, the producers are once again working with The New York Times and are looking to air the movie on FX and Hulu, as was the case with Framing Britney Spears.
Perhaps ironically, it was Timberlake’s own response to the Spears doc that renewed interest in the original wardrobe malfunction. Framing put Timberlake at the center of Spears’ downfall, suggesting he used her lowering profile to raise his own. After the doc aired, Timberlake issued an apology to both Spears and Jackson.
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” he wrote. “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
We’ll see what else he might have to say sorry for once this new doc gets made.
Jackson was supposed to debut a new album, Black Diamond, and go on an extensive tour last year. However, the pandemic altered her plans, and no new release nor tour schedule has yet been revealed. Her seminal Rhythm Nation 1814 was recently added to the Library of Congress archives.