- Adam Levine performed shirtless for part of the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday.
- Critics said the Super Bowl is inconsistent with whether nipples can be revealed during the show.
- While Janet Jackson was ostracized for a revealed nipple for 9/16ths of a second in 2004, Levine bared both of his for several minutes without controversy.
Maroon 5’s Super Bowl LIII halftime show performance was widely panned, but the biggest controversy isn’t about the music. Many fans of the show are upset that lead singer Adam Levine spent much of his time on stage shirtless, while Janet Jackson was ostracized for showing much less skin 15 years ago.
Levine’s took his shirt off near the end of his performance Sunday night, showing the audience his copious tattoos and a peek at his Supreme boxers briefs during a performance of “Moves Like Jagger.”
The move drew the ire of people who see Jackson as being unfairly maligned in comparison. At the halftime show in 2004, Justin Timberlake swiped off a breastplate on Jackson’s costume, revealing her nipple for 9/16ths of a second. It made the event infamous, spawning the term “wardrobe malfunction” and leading The Federal Communications Commission to fine CBS $US550,000 and begin a campaign censoring media over “public indecency.”
Janet Jackson showed a nipple and the country went nuts. She had to move to Bahrain for 10 years. #AdamLevine just went full on shirtless. Guess he’s gonna have to move to Riyadh #superbowl https://t.co/9Dzjj1T3tO
— MazJobrani (@MazJobrani) February 4, 2019
— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 4, 2019
Why is it okay to see Adam Levine’a boobs and not Janet Jackson’s?
Asking for a friend.
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) February 4, 2019
After “nipplegate,” then-CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves, who was recently ousted amid sexual harassment allegations, was hell-bent on destroying Jackson’s career, according to HuffPost. Though Jackson and Timberlake both insisted that the incident was an accident, Moonves reportedly believed that the incident was meant to embarrass him.
Moonves demanded that VH1 and MTV, which are owned by Viacom, a sibling company of CBS, stop playing Jackson’s songs. The move likely hurt sales of “Damita Jo,” Jackson’s album released months after the Super Bowl.
The reaction also highlights the gender disparity after the “nipplegate” incident. While Jackson received the brunt of the blame, Timberlake escaped relatively unscathed. And it appears Levine exposed his nipples Sunday night without any retribution.
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