- Stephanie Toone The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
When one of the heirs to the pop throne Justin Timberlake announced Sunday he would be performing at the 2018 Super Bowl LII, the first thought for many was: Will Janet Jackson join Timberlake during the performance?
Before the NFL or Timberlake could respond, livid fans took to social media to dispute the league’s decision to reward the “Can’t Stop the Feeling” singer with a halftime spot and not Jackson.
In 2004, the duo performed during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime, but as the two ended Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body,” a wardrobe malfunction revealed Jackson’s nipple for less than a second, spawning what now is referred to as the Nipplegate scandal.
The controversy reportedly led to dismal record sales for Jackson’s “Damita Jo” LP and a dark cloud over the performance until this day. The FCC nightmare led to the now standard video delay during live events. Yet, many argue, Timberlake was not negatively affected by the scandal like Jackson, who recently started a world tour.
Fast forward to now, will Janet Jackson perform with Timberlake?
NFL officials cleared up the rumors Monday afternoon that Jackson is banned from performing.
"No ban, no," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNN. He declined comment on "any speculation regarding potential guests," and he said there may be no guests. McCarthy went on to describer Timberlake as the “ultimate global superstar.”
In light of the impact the controversial moment, fans found issue with the NFL inviting one-half of the duo back for a second shot at a drama-free performance.
The Super Bowl halftime news has continued to spark outrage even after the NFL’s statement.
Some even sensed a racial undertone to the missing invitation for a Janet Jackson performance.
Timberlake has not yet announced whether he plans to invite Jackson as a special guest.