Five years after Janet Jackson flashed an unsuspecting nation during the halftime show of the 2004 Super Bowl, the battle over “Nipplegate” continues to wreak havoc in the judicial system. After a $550,000 fine was levied against CBS, then thrown out, then reinstated, the FCC is still arguing that the network is to blame and that exposing “Jackson’s bare right breast to a nationwide audience composed of millions of children and adults was indecent.” A Third Circuit Appeals court found that the fine against CBS was “arbitrary and capricious,” but in new documents the FCC argues that CBS had video delay capabilities that would have prevented the incident, Broadcasting & Cable reports.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, in June the Supreme Court asked the Third Circuit Court to reexamine the case after upholding FCC’s right to levy fines even for one-time outbursts, resulting in the new batch of court documents filed yesterday. The Third Court initially threw out the $550,000 fine in July 2008. CBS argued then that video delay was still in its infancy and they therefore couldn’t have prevented the incident, but the FCC insists that the technology was available and that CBS was “reckless” for not utilizing video delay.
CBS received 582,000 complaints after Justin Timberlake ripped off a portion of Janet Jackson’s bra during a performance of “Rock Your Body” in front of an audience of 90 million viewers. The nudity lasted all of 9/16th of a second, yet the ensuing court battle continues on. Because of the incident, the Super Bowl has since opted for safer performances during halftime, lining up an army of classic rockers like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones and Prince.