US TV network to escape $550,000 fine over Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’

CBS won't be ordered to stump up cash for screening's singer's breast-baring, rules court

US television network CBS Corp will not be fined $550,000 (£343,330) for screening Janet Jackson‘s infamous ‘wardrobe malfunction’, a court has ruled.

Originally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had imposed the fine on the network for airing the singer’s performance at the 2004 Super Bowl, when fellow performer Justin Timberlake tore her outfit and exposed her breast to viewers.

Philadelphia‘s 3rd US Circuit Court Of Appeals later overturned the decision and ruled that CBS would not have to pay the financial penalty, but in 2009 the US Supreme Court ordered them to re-examine the case and consider reinstating the fine.


However, according to The Wrap, the court in Philadelphia have stuck by their original verdict that the FCC made their decision “arbitrarily and capriciously”, and that they failed to inform the broadcaster about changes they made to their indecency enforcement.

In a statement, CBS said:

We are gratified that once again the court has ruled in our favour. We are hopeful that this will help lead the FCC to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades.

The FCC, meanwhile, said they were disappointed with the decision but would “continue to use all of the authority at its disposal to ensure that the nation’s broadcasters fulfil the public interest responsibilities that accompany their use of the public airwaves”.

In August, Janet Jackson revealed she would not perform at the Michael Jackson tribute concert as it was scheduled to clash with the court case of Dr. Conrad Murray, who is currently being tried for the involuntary manslaughter of the late King Of Pop.

Previously, the singer had publicly blamed Murray for her brother’s death.