At the time, a Twitter hashtag, #JusticeForJanet, was sparked, after many viewers were dismayed at the differences in treatment over Janet Jackson and Adam Levine.
Viewers pointed out that it seemed unfair that Janet Jackson received a $550,000 fine after a wardrobe malfunction during her 2004 Super Bowl performance with Justin Timberlake meant she momentarily flashed a nipple, but Levine purposely removed his shirt to expose his own chest and nipples.
But now, according to Hollywood Reporter, the FCC have received over 50 complaints from viewers about Levine’s shirtless performance. The number is tiny compared to the half a million complaints it was reported that Jackson’s performance garnered 15 years ago, but it’s that disparity that many of the people who have contacted the FCC – America’s regulation agency – complained about.
According the Hollywood reporter, one of the complaints read, “I want him banned, just like Janet,” while another said, “In 2004, CBS was fined $550,000 for airing what has become known as the “Nipple Slip”. In 2019, CBS aired Adam Levine removing his shirt exposing both nipples. This must be dealt with in a similar manner, or the double standard must be made public.”
After her 2004 performance, Janet Jackson was asked to issue an apology and was issued a $550,000 which was later dismissed after a lengthy legal battle that nearly ended up in the Supreme Court. It’s been claimed that the incident had a negative effect on her career while her co-star, Justin Timberlake, was unaffected by the incident.
Before this year’s halftime show, it was reported that Maroon 5 struggled to find anyone to guest star in their performance, reportedly being turned down by more than half a dozen artists who couldn’t join them on stage. In the end, Travis Scott and Big Boi performed with them.
Levine spoke before the show and promised to “honour social justice” within the performance, but NME’s Rhian Daly was left unimpressed in her review of the show. She wrote: “It’s awkward and lacklustre, completely lacking the soul you’d expect from someone who’d talked it up as the most excited they’d ever been.”