Janet Jackson dressed to look a lot like her androgynous brother. Her lordosis and Justin Timberlake’s mounting and thrusting dance moves. Scantily clothes backup dancers. I won’t even mention the words to the song. Whatever they were. Oh, and before and after the half time, men dressed in tightly fitting clothes grabbing each other’s assess and spitting everywhere.
Then suddenly a human female breast is exposed. The world pretty much came to an end at that moment. More than One half of a Million people bothered to complain to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) … their live were negatively affected by seeing the breast. OMG. And, as if charging one dollar per complaint, the FCC slaps the network with a 5.5 million dollar fine.
I remember the day quite well, My daughter, then 9 years old or something, and I were watching the game. During a commercial, I got an email (from, if you must know, famous commenter Ana) that was a bit long and required a longish reply. So I missed a big chunk of the halftime show.
Later that evening, Ana replied to my email and thew in a mention of the Half Time Show wardrobe malfunction. I had missed it and not heard about it. The next morning, I asked Julia … “So, did anything interesting, unusual, or unexpected occur during the half time show yesterday?”
“An, no, I don’t think so.”
“Nothing about a malfunction ofJanet Jackson’s wardrobe.”
“Oh, right, yea, breast got exposed but it was totally obvious that the whole thing was planned. Kinda stupid.”
“Oh, OK. Cool.”
(In case you missed it, the event is reproduced below in a YouTube video)
The point of all this is that a US Appeals court has thrown out the fine as Arbitrary and Capricious.
The network, producers MTV and Timberlake all apologised, insisting the move had not been intentional.
But the fine was imposed in September 2004 and was the largest ever handed to a US television broadcaster.
The FCC fined 20 CBS-owned TV stations the maximum penalty for indecency – $27,500 (£13,780) – each.
CBS appealed against the decision, however.
The court said the FCC had traditionally fined broadcasters for indecent material only when it amounted to “shock treatment” for viewers.
In this case, the footage – lasting “nine-sixteenths of a second” – was too brief to merit such a penalty, it added.
“The FCC cannot impose liability on CBS for the acts of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, independent contractors hired for the limited purposes of the half-time show,” wrote the chief judge on the panel, Anthony Scirica.