If Nipplegate Happened During Super Bowl LI

Image via Rolling Stone

Everyone knows where they were when Justin Timberlake ripped off Janet Jackson‘s breast plate exposing her right breast to 144.4 million viewers on CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.

I was standing in my apartment cleaning my room, my senior year in college with duster in hand when I contributed to the collective gasp heard around the world.

“What the hell just happened?” 

Cut to commercial.

I remember standing there confused without the ability to rewatch instantly like I would have been able to now, hence the birth of YouTube a few months later. With no social media to satisfy my hunger for knowledge and theories of occult strangers, I had to settle for real time updates via MTV, the nightly news and other non-internet based media.

At the time, this type of incident was totally taboo. After all, we’re not Europe, where a simple body wash commercial can expose a woman’s breasts lathered in the shower; a completely normal every day occurrence. Isn’t it though?

The backlash on Janet was brutal, but somehow Justin flew under the radar and was percieved as the innocent boy next door, while Jackson was crucified to the point that her career never recovered. She was even banned from attending the Grammy’s which aired the following week on the same network, yet Justin attended and won two.  Umm?

We can debate the hundreds of reasons why this happened, however if this happened at tonight’s halftime performance, the outcome would have been completely different, and here’s why:


For starters, Janet would have had the support of women everywhere. Not to say Justin would have had a negative outcome, but thanks to all the girl power taking over social media and the political landscape, women would have united with Janet against CBS for making her have to apologize publicly and take full blame for the incident.


Have you taken a peek at this hashtag feed?

According to their website, freethenipple.com:

“Is a global campaign of change, focused on the equality, empowerment, and freedom of all human beings. It has become a premier voice for gender equality, utilizing all forms of modern media, to raise awareness and effect change on various social issues and injustices.”

You may remember when Scout Willis, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, walked down the streets of New York City topless in 2014 to protest Instagram’s strict no-nudity rule. Whether you agree with her or not, this did add to the dialogue that was already taking place thanks to movements like #FreeTheNipple and outraged moms getting judged for breast feeding in public.

Whatever your stance on this subject, you better believe, that everyone supporting this type of equality for women, will jump to the defense of Janet’s right breast and protest anyone who thought she was degrading and disrespectful.


Right or Left; can we all agree, that Donald Trump would have something to say about this incident? TMZ has already reported his presidential position on who’s winning tonight’s game, his HUGE pile of money is on Tom Brady. He’s also discussed The Apprentice ratings and used the National Prayer Breakfast to slam his successor Arnold Schwarzenegger. So would it be to anyone’s shock and horror that he’d be tweeting about Nipplegate 2017? Any guesses to his reaction? I’ve got some characteristically on-brand crude guesses for you:

@TheRealDonaldTrump: This Super Bowl Half-Time show was expected to be HUUUGEEEE, but it turns out it’s just a small C at best.

@TheRealDonaldTrump: Forget the pussy, let’s get #GrabThemByTheTitty trending.

@TheRealDonaldTrump: Justin for President!! Oh wait… 


“Miss Jackson… if you’re nasty.” And a lot of us are. One million to be exact. That’s how many people attended the Women’s March on Washington globally. I for one would probably take the opportunity to create a t-shirt you could insert your last name into Janet’s famous line from her hit single, Nasty. Though The Donald didn’t mean to inspire this message of solidarity to benefit the Clinton campaign and Planned Parenthood, we can all agree, that Hillary ran with this marketing gem as fast as she did when she was offering The Woman Card. Pretty brilliant marketing and another reason why Nasty Women everywhere would applaud Janet’s balls to release her nipple.


Janet Jackson was pretty much forced to apologized in a 25 second clip broadcasted and sponsored by the network who turned on her. CBS aired this apology to save themselves the embarrassment and single her out for the perceived indecency in broadcast television. Today, I don’t feel she would be apologizing, she would stand in Formation like Beyonce did last year. She would have the support of her fans and her career would have been better than ever. Unfortunately thirteen years ago, the media landscape wasn’t as optimized and of course we have social media to thank for giving us all a voice. I for one apologize to Janet if my 19-year-old-self had any judgement. Today, I applaud you. #sorrynotsorry



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