The NFL announced over the weekend that Justin Timberlake will return to do the Super Bowl halftime show for the first time since 2004. Some may remember 2004 as the year that censorship became even more of a huge deal after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed on live television due to a wardrobe malfunction while performing with Timberlake during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. The blame was placed mostly on Janet Jackson, who became vilified after the performance, but not much was said about the former NSYNC singer and now fans are fuming that he has been asked back.
Justin Timberlake posted a short video clip with his BFF, Jimmy Fallon, on Twitter with a caption that reads: "I do have the time. Half the Time," while hashtagging Pepsi and the Super Bowl. While many fans of Timberlake were elated to learn that he'd be taking the stage for the halftime show for the first time in 14 years, others were stunned to learn that one of those behind "nipple gate" was being allowed to return. The problems arose when many pointed out that Justin Timberlake came out of the whole controversy unscathed, while Janet Jackson is still talked about to this day. Many attribute the performance to hurting Jackson's career. The incident may or may not have been planned, but that's not the point.
The biggest complaint seen on social media after the announcement was made was that, once again, the world has been reminded that men can get away with seemingly whatever they want with not so much as a slap on the wrist, while women must suffer the consequences. Shortly after the inequality anger, the second is the outrage that both Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were reportedly banned from appearing at the Super Bowl halftime show ever again, according to Variety. But it appears that was never the case. TMZ reached out to the NFL and they claim that there was never such a ban in the first place.
Rae Sanni took to Twitter to say, "Seriously, Justin Timberlake is trash for accepting that Superbowl Gig while Janet is still banned. No one gives a sh!t about black women," while other fans tend to go for the pure fairness of the situation. Twitter user, A Definite Maybe, said, "If Janet Jackson can't ever perform at the Super Bowl again then Justin Timberlake shouldn't be able to either." A new hashtag named Justice for Janet has started to go viral as the news begins to spread of Justin Timberlake performing again without Janet Jackson. But the NFL's statement makes it clear that Janet Jackson could show up.
"There's no ban. 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."
The main point of contention from most fans is the way that the NFL handles situations that have to do with women, especially the abuse of women. NFL players have seen more damage to their careers for illegal dog fighting than domestic abuse, which sees a small fine, a few games suspension, and then back to normal like nothing ever happened. Ernest Owens took to Twitter to say, "Pepsi is trash, Justin Timberlake is trash, and the NFL is trash. Perfect Trio." Janet Jackson could come out as a secret special guest that has been planned all along (and the NFL may have just hinted at that), or the criticism could lead to a change. It could be too early to judge, but some people have taken major offense to the announcement that the Pop superstar will be returning to the Super Bowl without Janet Jackson. You can check out the announcement below, courtesy of Justin Timberlake's Twitter account along with some complaints from social media.