Justin Timberlake has discussed the infamous "nipplegate" incident at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show ahead of his return to the event this year.
Janet Jackson's career suffered after her breast was accidentally exposed when Timberlake tore the front of her costume. Meanwhile the former NSYNC member went onto release one of his bestselling albums of all time.
Ahead of his return to the Super Bowl halftime show in February, which takes place days after his new album Man of the Woods is released, Timberlake said the incident had been discussed and that he wanted to "move forward and learn from it".
“Naturally, that’s something we talked about,” the 36-year-old told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, in his first public interview for his new album.
“To be honest, it wasn’t too much of a conversation. It’s just one of those things where you go, like, ‘Yeah, what do you want me to say? We’re not going to do that again!’”
Many fans believe Jackson was punished unfairly over the incident, where she was reportedly uninvited from the 2004 Grammys and had her music videos blacklisted. News of Timberlake's slot at the 2018 halftime show prompted a #JusticeForJanet hashtag, as many believed she was still receiving worse treatment than him.
The Daily Beast's Ira Madison III explained in a 2017 article: “It wasn’t until the release of Jackson’s latest album, Unbreakable, her pregnancy, and return to the stage with the State of the World Tour that she finally broke hold of over a decade of undue blame.”
Meanwhile, he pointed out, “the white artist at the centre of the controversy received none of the backlash".
Jackson and Timberlake both admitted they agreed on the costume reveal at the final rehearsal, but Timberlake admitted in a 2006 interview that he only took "10 per cent" of the blame.
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“I think America is harsher on women,” he said at the time. “I think America is unfairly harsh on ethnic people.”
“I stumbled through it, to be quite honest,” Timberlake said of the scandal in the Beats 1 interview. “I had my wires crossed and it’s just something that you have to look back on and go like, OK, well you know, you can’t change what’s happened, but you can move forward and learn from it.”
Timberlake also said he and Jackson had since made peace, after not speaking to one another for some time after the incident.
“I don’t know that a lot of people know that,” he said “I don’t think it’s my job to do that, because you value the relationships that you do have with people.”
Jackson has yet to comment on Timberlake’s return to the Super Bowl.
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