CBS CEO Les Moonves reportedly sought to 'ruin' Janet Jackson's career after Super Bowl 'wardrobe malfunction'

Donald Miralle/GettyJanet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
  • CBS boss Les Moonves sought to undermine Janet Jackson’s career after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” incident at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, according to a HuffPost report.
  • Multiple sources told HuffPost that Moonves considered Jackson “not sufficiently repentant” for the incident and subsequently banned her music from MTV, VH1, and other Viacom-owned properties.
  • Moonves is reportedly in settlement talks to leave CBS, with the board offering around $US100 million amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Les Moonves, the embattled CEO of CBS, reportedly sought to ban Janet Jackson from MTV and Viacom-owned properties, and undermine her career, after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” incident that took place at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, according to HuffPost report.

Multiple unnamed sources told HuffPost that Moonves considered Jackson “not sufficiently repentant” for the incident, in which Justin Timberlake ripped away a piece of Jackson’s leather outfit during the halftime show and left her breast exposed for “9/16 of a second” on live TV.

CBS and the halftime show’s producer, MTV, which were both under the parent company Viacom at the time, faced criticism and a $US550,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission. Moonves said in a statement following the incident that CBS was “angry and embarrassed” by the malfunction.

Though Timberlake and Jackson both said at the time that the incident was a true malfunction, Moonves banned both artists from appearing on the 2004 Grammy Awards broadcast by CBS.

According to HuffPost’s sources, Timberlake “tearfully apologised” for the incident and was allowed to perform at the Grammys, but Moonves was “furious that Jackson didn’t make a similarly contrite apology to him,” and subsequently sought to further undercut her career.

Moonves reportedly ordered a ban on Jackson’s music on MTV, VH1, and other Viacom-owned properties, which adversely affected the sales of Jackson’s March 2004 album “Damita Jo.”

HuffPost’s sources said that they felt that Moonves “played a large part” in how the public perceived Jackson in the aftermath of an event that significantly damaged her career.

Seven years after the incident, Moonves was reportedly “furious” and “aggressive” in tone to several sources after Jackson signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster (which is owned by Viacom) for her 2011 memoir “True You.”

Moonves is reportedly in settlement talks to leave CBS, with the board offering around $US100 million amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him, which appeared in a New Yorker report in July. NBC News also reported that Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, has been seeking a possible replacement for Moonves.

CBS declined to comment on HuffPost’s report. Representatives for CBS also declined to comment to Business Insider, and Jackson’s reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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