Janet Jackson ‘wardrobe malfunction’ appealed to Supreme Court
WASHINGTON — A case involving a fine over a “wardrobe malfunction” which exposed pop superstar Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast was appealed to the US Supreme Court Wednesday.
Court documents showed the Federal Communications asked the top US court to reimpose the fine on CBS television network in the long-running legal battle over indecency broadcast standards.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) levied the $550,000 fine against CBS in 2006 for breaking indecency rules during a halftime performance by Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl, the championship game of the National Football League.
CBS appealed the fine and the case has wound its way through the courts since then.
In its ruling in November, the appeals court ruled in favor of CBS, saying the FCC had acted “arbitrarily” in penalizing the TV network CBS and that the indecency standard should not be applied to “fleeting images.”
But the FCC says in its request to the Supreme Court that “no such exemption has ever existed” for nudity, although there may be an exemption for isolated uses of expletives. It said other cases involving Fox and ABC television also support the FCC decision.
Jackson, the youngest sister of the late Michael Jackson, was performing live at the Super Bowl when fellow pop star Justin Timberlake tore off her bustier, exposing her breast for a fraction of a second to some 90 million viewers.
CBS apologized for the incident but in 2004 it was ordered to pay the fine, the stiffest penalty the agency could levy against the network.