The NFL is denying reports that Janet Jackson has been banned from the halftime show.
Shortly after Justin Timberlake was announced as next year’s Super Bowl performer, an NFL representative has confirmed that, despite rumors to the contrary, the pop icon has not been banned as a result of 2004’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” moment, when Timberlake ripped part of her outfit to expose her right breast.
“There’s no ban,” the rep told TMZ. However, the league did not address whether Jackson will appear during Timberlake’s set. “We are not going to comment on any speculation regarding potential guests. There may be no guests. Along with Pepsi, we’re excited to have Justin Timberlake.”
Timberlake’s performance has been met with criticism from those who feel that Janet unfairly took the brunt of the blame for the wardrobe controversy. Today’s Timberlake news has even sparked social media backlash under the hashtag #JusticeForJanet, with some fans calling for a Super Bowl boycott.
The 2004 incident, which has since been dubbed “Nipplegate,” resulted in a steep $500,000 fine for CBS and a new five-second delay on live events from the Federal Communications Commission.
In the past, Timberlake was vocal about the fact that Jackson received more of the blame for the incident. “It’s an understatement to say that it was sort of unfair,” he told MTV. “If you consider it 50/50, I probably got 10 percent of the blame. That, I think, says something about society. America is harsher on women. America is unfairly harsh on ethnic people. At the time it was happening, it was so crazy to me, that I didn’t handle it the best way I could have.”
The Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show is set to take place Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.