Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl controversy gets new documentary

The scandalous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show incident, later deemed a "wardrobe malfunction," is getting a closer look.

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The scandalous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, which was later called “nipplegate” and deemed a “wardrobe malfunction,” is getting a deeper examination in a new documentary. 

Hulu and FX will partner to release Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson on Friday, Nov. 19.

Janet Jackson (left) and Justin Timberlake (right) perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Feb. 2004, in Houston, Texas — right before the “wardrobe malfunction.” (Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

According to Deadline, the streaming company and popular cable network will collaborate for Malfunction as part of their The New York Times Presents series, which made major headlines earlier this year with the release of Framing Britney Spears

Directed and produced by Jodi Gomes — who previously directed The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty for A+E Networks — Malfunction will feature rare footage and interviews with people involved in the now-infamous halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII, in Houston, Texas, between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. 

Timberlake joined Jackson near the end of her six-minute halftime set and performed his hit single, “Rock Your Body,” and near its end, Timberlake is seen tearing at the bodice of Jackson’s costume, a pre-planned “reveal” of Jackson’s sexy bra. Instead, the bodice rips away, and Jackson’s nipple is briefly exposed. She then covers herself as the broadcast fades to black. 

The incident garnered major headlines for weeks afterward, with CBS ultimately fined by the FCC for the breast exposure. Timberlake and Jackson both issued apologies, and the incident was deemed a “wardrobe malfunction.” However, Jackson’s career never reached the level of success she had before the incident, and Timberlake’s has since grown, with nary a hiccup. 

Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson will explore “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,” Deadline reports. 

The documentary will also feature interviews and insights from industry insiders and cultural critics, and explore the role of former CBS head Les Moonves in the wake of the controversy and in hampering Jackson’s career. 

Earlier this year in the wake of the release of Framing Britney Spears — which also explored Timberlake’s role in hindering Spears’ career — the former NSYNC member took to Instagram to issue an apology for his role in both damaging episodes. 

“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,” Timberlake wrote. “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”

“I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually,” he continued, “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,” Timberlake added, “and most importantly because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from.”

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