Hulu and FX platforms present a new documentary from The New York Times Presents series. The previous tape in this series was dedicated to Britney Spears, now in the spotlight – Janet Jackson, and to a greater extent – one of the brightest moments in the entire career of a star. Yes, yes, we are talking about that very scandalous performance of Michael Jackson's sister at the 2004 Super Bowl, when her partner by number Justin Timberlake accidentally (by chance?) Showed Janet's breasts all over America and around the world live. The documentary is called Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson.
The film, of course, will tell how Jackson's career developed, but the bulk of the screen time is devoted to the sensational performance with Timberlake. The main reason for the controversy that spawned that incident was how differently the episode affected the reputation and career of the two stars and how differently the public perceived it. If Justin continued to rapidly move towards the peak of popularity, then Janet faced shaming: the media openly laughed at the singer. And this despite the fact that the artist's chest was visible for only a fraction of a second!
So what is the movie about? Collected some of the most interesting points.
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
Janet has faced bullying since childhood
As it turns out, the artist is no stranger to shaming. She has starred in TV shows since the age of 11 and says that even then she felt vulnerable due to comments about her appearance. On the set of the sitcom Good Times, the girl's breasts were tied tightly to make her look less curvy. For the same project, she was somehow asked to lose weight.
I immediately thought that I didn't look good enough
– Janet recalls. According to her, she got it from the closest ones: the brothers (Jackson had five of them) practiced their wit, giving their sister nicknames like “donkey” or “mare.”
The exposure on stage was “almost” accidental.
According to the film version, to some extent “nudity” during the duet performance of Timberlake and Jackson was planned – but something went wrong. Justin was touring Europe at the time, and he and Janet had little time to rehearse the joint release. Initially, the idea arose that in the final of the performance Timberlake tore off his partner's skirt and she would remain in one bodysuit. It should have happened right on the line from Justin's hit Rock Your Body: “I bet you'll be naked by the end of this song.” Then they decided that the “trick” would be with the upper part of the singer's costume.
According to the show's producer, Justin, Janet and her stylist met in the dressing room before the show and agreed that Timberlake would pull Jackson's top, under which there will be a red bra. However, it turned out that he pulled the top along with the bra and Janet's breasts were seen by all 140 million viewers. The fact that she was adorned with a silver star-shaped accessory left most viewers in no doubt that the coincidence was not accidental.
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
That very moment was not immediately noticed
According to the creators of the tape, even the producers of the show did not immediately understand what had happened until a barrage of calls from the media fell on them. Immediately after the performance, Janet hurriedly left the venue, and Justin apologized to the public for the incident, but said in an interview that “it turned out funny.”
As the authors of the documentary say, the press then took up arms against Jackson: everyone believed that she should also apologize. In addition, it was she who was suspected of being faked. In the end, Janet issued two apologies at once and claimed responsibility for the embarrassing incident. But then the singer began to criticize even more – for the fact that her reaction was not instantaneous. Jackson later admitted in an interview with Oprah: in her opinion, she should not have apologized for what was just an accident.
Jackson's career is under attack since Super Bowl
They say the scandal was so hot that it even led to several layoffs in the team preparing the show. Janet herself was not presented in the best light in the press: the tabloids were discussing her forms with might and main, one article said that she had “completely normal breasts of a middle-aged woman,” undress on stage (meanwhile, the singer was 37 years old at that time). It got to the point that sales of Janet Damita Jo's album fell, although earlier it had a great start in the charts, radio stations chose not to broadcast her tracks, and MTV stopped playing her videos. At the same time, Justin Timberlake's career was on the rise, and, according to the position of the filmmakers, he got out of the water, distancing himself from Janet and the whole situation. Moreover, in 2018 Timberlake sang at the Super Bowl again, but Jackson never took part in the show again. Many of Janet's fans still believe that it was Justin who did the wrong thing in this situation, because he “defamed” his colleague.