Appeals Court Rule in Favor of CBS For Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl Malfunction

It has been over seven years since Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl. The incident caused CBS to appear in court for a penalty from the Federal Communications Commission after being slapped with a $550,000 fine for airing Jackson’s right nipple during that year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

After making a similar ruling in 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (in Philly) upheld their decision, ending the deliberation over the penalty and dismissing the imposing fine.

The court, 2-to-1, ruled that the FCC had, after three decades of giving a pass to the “fleeting” stuff, acted arbitrarily when it fined CBS over Jackson’s mammary without having first sent out a memo letting networks know about any changes to the fleeting-naughty-bits policy.

The decision by the courts read: “The FCC failed to acknowledge that its order in this case reflected a policy change and improperly imposed a penalty on CBS for violating a previously unannounced policy.”

The Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake halftime performance mishap, which lasted less than a second, has been edged in stone as a historical television incident.


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