Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl ‘wardrobe malfunction’ made CBS chief Les Moonves so irate he allegedly became intent on destroying her career for the embarrassment it caused him.
Janet Jackson, 52, was one of pop music’s biggest superstars when she was the halftime entertainer at the 2004 Super Bowl, which aired on CBS that year. When special guest, Justin Timberlake, 37, ripped off a part of her costume at the end of the set, her bare right boob was exposed on live TV, causing a national uproar. One person who was particularly incensed according to a shocking new report was CBS/Viacom boss Les Moonves, 68. The Huffington Post reports that the incident caused him to go on a mission to destroy Janet’s career because she didn’t seem as apologetic as Justin, who he later let off the hook
In a new expose by reporter Yashar Ali, he claims that Moonves was not convinced that it was a wardrobe malfunction, “but rather an intentional bid to stir up controversy. Moonves has been open about the fact that the incident caused him embarrassment, and he told sources who spoke to me that Jackson, in his mind, was not sufficiently repentant.”
Moonves proceeded to ban Justin and Janet from the 2004 Grammys, which aired on CBS a week after the Super Bowl. Ali reports that Justin was later allowed to perform because he personally called up Moonves and gave a tearful apology. Janet didn’t do the same and he then allegedly set out to ruin her career, according to Ali’s report. Moonves “was furious that Jackson didn’t make a similarly contrite apology to him. The fallout from the incident inflicted significant damage on Jackson’s career ― which until that point had produced 10 No. 1 hits ― and still reverberates to this day,” he writes.
There’s no question Janet’s career took a massive nosedive that it never fully recovered from after her Super Bowl boob flash in front of over 100 million viewers. Yet Justin’s career skyrocketed and he never took any major hits over it, even though he was the one who ripped away the fabric exposing Janet. Ali alleges in his report that “Moonves ordered Viacom properties VH1 and MTV, and all Viacom-owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s songs and music videos. The move had a huge impact on sales of her album Damita Jo, which was released in March 2004, just a month after the Super Bowl.” No wonder her career tanked.
A spokesperson for CBS declined to comment to The Huffington Post for their story. In a July of 2018 New Yorker expose, reporter Ronan Farrow wrote about sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves from the ’90s through the mid aughts. Four women described to him alleged forcible touching and kissing during business meetings by the CBS chief. Another two women claimed Moonves “physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers.” All six women told Farrow that if they rejected his alleged advances, he came “cold or hostile,” and that their careers suffered from it.