Following the success of “Framing Britney Spears,” the team behind The New York Times Presents series is taking on Janet Jackson’s story.
FX and Hulu announced a new episode of the documentary series, “Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson,” on November 1.
“In 2004, a culture war was brewing when the Super Bowl halftime show audience saw a white man expose a Black woman’s breast for 9/16ths of a second. A national furor ensued. ‘If the culture wars could have a 9/11, it’s February 1st, 2004,’ said one observer,” the press release reads. “The woman was Janet Jackson, and her career was never the same. The man was Justin Timberlake; his stardom only grew. The New York Times examines the racial and cultural currents that collided on the Super Bowl stage, and explores how the incident impacted one of the most successful pop musicians in history.”
Super Bowl XXXVI viewers will recall Timberlake, now 40, exposing the “That’s the Way Love Goes” singer’s nipple during the live halftime performance. While there was speculation about what happened at the time, the “SexyBack” crooner and Jackson, now 55, called the incident an accident, explaining he was supposed to reveal red lace covering her chest.
The backlash from the scandal resurfaced upon the release of “Framing Britney Spears,” which explored the “Toxic” singer’s conservatorship battle, amid discussion about how the media treated Timberlake compared to both Spears, his ex-girlfriend, and Jackson. The Palmer star subsequently released an apology.
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he wrote via Instagram at the time. “I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
He continued: “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. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from.”
While Jackson never publicly reacted to Timberlake’s apology, she acknowledged that she took the brunt of the blame during a 2006 interview.
“All the emphasis was put on me. Not on Justin,” she said at the time. “We were friends. And not that we aren’t … we haven’t spoken, but I consider him a friend, and I’m very loyal, and friendship is very important.”
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