This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was plagued by controversy prior to the game. Several artists such as Rihanna and Jay Z reportedly turned down the opportunity to perform in order to stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, whose nonviolent protest of police brutality against people of color has seen him blackballed in the league. Now, new controversy has sparked surrounding Adam Levine’s performance and his exposed nipples.
It wasn’t too long ago that another Super Bowl controversy about visible nipples took place. Janet Jackson’s briefly exposed nipple during her 2004 halftime show performance with Justin Timberlake ended with the FCC taking swift action and fining CBS $550,000 (which was later overturned after the case nearly reached the Supreme Court). The FCC received more than half a million complaints over Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.
Many of the FCC complaints following this year’s show pointed out the difference between the way both exposed nipple incidents were dealt with. Adam Levine received no fine or repercussions for purposely exposing his nipples when he slowly stripped throughout his performance. Janet Jackson meanwhile, who’s shirt was clearly pulled down by her co-star Justin Timberlake, was hit with a hefty fine.
One FCC complaint declared the difference in treatment was sexist.
“Seeing Adam Levine’s nipples was repulsive. Also the fact that there hasn’t been an immediate backlash like the Janet Jackson incident is disturbing and sexist.”
Another complaint reiterated a similar sentiment.
“I had to see some tattooed guys nipples on TV with my family. It was not right. How come when a black woman does it it isn’t for the family but it’s okay if some tattooed white guy does it it’s okay? Janet Jackson should be issued a formal apology and Adam Levin [sic] should issue a formal apology for showing his nipples and horrible tattoo choices on live television.”
One complaint compared Adam Levine’s nipple to Pornhub videos. “I witnessed the exposure of nipples during the halftime show of the super bowl. My children were watching. If I wanted them exposed to the trash I would let them go hog wild on pornhub. Adam Levine and the NFL need to be punished for such indecency.”
The Hollywood Reporter claimed more than 50 complaints were made surrounding Adam Levine’s exposed nipples.