back to article US court sides with Janet Jackson's breast

America's puritanical streak goes only so far. Today, a US appeals court vaporized the $550,000 fine the FCC famously slapped on CBS for showing the country a majority of Janet Jackson's right breast. At halftime of the 2004 Super Bowl, as he warbled "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song," pop prince Justin …


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  1. Chris G

    What a bunch of tits

    I can't remember the exact dates but I seem to remember the Daughters of the American Revolution had the nipples of all the fawns and nymphs in Disney's Fantasia banned. I think I am correct in saying Fantasia was delayed from being released in the thirties until after the war because hundreds ofpeople with erasers were rubbing out nipples from every one of thousands of frames to conform with America's ridiculous prudishness. After all it's not as if Janet jackson is the only benippled female in the states, all mammals have them, it's a bit surprising the gods and cats don't have to wear little bras to cover there nipples.

  2. Jolyon Ralph

    nine sixteenths?

    How do they work that out? US TV is 30 frames per second (60 if you discount the interlace, and you'd inevitably have half a naked boobie on each of the two interlaced fields that make up one frame).

    So assuming that each frame either did, or did not, show raw tittage then that would equate to an impossible 16.875 frames of hot breast action.

    I might need to review the footage again to research a plausible answer for this.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nine sixteenths

    Most likely it was filmed at a higher framerate and they reviewed the original film for a better view... I mean a better idea of what exactly was broadcast that justified such a huge fine.

  4. kain preacher


    What the reaction would of been if it was 2 sec flash of a penis . Sex offender here we come.

    But if you wanted to piss them off to the point were their head explodes , Show to blokes kissing.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    another important item

    The article misses the bit where the court noted that most of the complaints were copies of the same form letter from one single fundie group, and that pretty much nobody else complained, and basically said "we're ignoring the sheep that can't compose their own complaint letter"

  6. Sandra Greer

    Got Milk?

    I'm waiting for the yokels to start masking off the udders on our milk cartons. Major major tits, those are.

    As for Janet Jackson, poor cow!

  7. Rob
    Thumb Down

    covered nipple?

    I beg to differ that the nipple was in fact covered. Strangely pierced, yes... but covered? Not quite.

  8. CTG


    Um, 9/16 = 0.5625, 17/30 = 0.5666'

    So it was probably 17 frames, and "nine sixteenths" is being used as an approximation because it sounds funnier than seventeen thirtieths.

  9. ROlsen

    Nine Sixteenths was Long Enough...

    Many are discounting such a short showing, but I am here to tell you that was more than enough time for me to...well..I'm not going to say because this is a public forum, but I think you get the idea...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @ ROlsen

    If it only takes you 9/16ths of a second you might want to have your doctor recommend a specialist.

  11. Sam Tana
    Paris Hilton

    @ Rolsen

    You must be hard up, man! (!)

    Paris - because she likes a hard up man...

  12. Graham Marsden


    If it only takes you Nine Sixteenths, I hope you have another way of making your partner happy!

  13. P. Lee
    Paris Hilton

    Americans Prudish?

    I don't think so. Myopic maybe.

    1/2 a second showing a baby-feeder vs an entire song, aimed largely at under-age children, about getting someone ready for sex.

    "I'm gonna get you nekkid by the end of this song - oops, I didn't really mean it, no really please don't fine me for doing what I just said I'd do!"

    I see a Reg article ( implying internet sites should conform to US law, despite being a global media. How about inciting statutory rape?

    Forget the nudity, fine 'em for broadcasting the song!

    Before I'm jumped on for being a heavy-handed censor - I'm merely pointing out that stage performers and large corporations are making money from promoting what is an illegal activity for a large proportion of their market.

    Government and regulation are no longer about doing the right thing, they are merely about managing the media.

    Paris, obviously.

  14. Ramon Casha

    People in Europe were dumbstruck... the reaction. I mean, there are about as many boobs in the world as there are humans (yeah I know some girls are still young but there are enough man-boobs to make up for that). Looking at boobs has been shown to "lower blood pressure" among other things... though clearly not for the prudes.

    Here's a nice close up of a pair of great tits to improve your health:

    And how about this pair of masked boobies?

  15. Nordrick Framelhammer

    Lets face it...

    The Sepos are a bunch of hypocrites. How many of them attend church then go out and rent/buy/download porn, buy all manner of marital aids and lingerie. And yet they will even fuzz out the top end of a butt crack or even people in their underwear while at the same time showing people blowing up. It is pathetic.

    And as for Janet Jackson, it was justa publicity stunt. She used her saggingb milksack to try to revive her sagging crapsack of a career. Didn't help much though.

  16. Ramon Casha
    Thumb Up

    Compare it to this...

    In Malta, a dancer had a "wardrobe malfunction" in front of 50 heads of state and truckloads of TV cameras filming the whole thing for the commonwealth countries. Barely anyone batted an eyelid, and the reaction from everyone (except perhaps Fiona) was a quick chuckle then everyone forgot about it, despite Malta being one of the most conservative countries in Europe.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I guess that depends on the context

    Many moons ago, when Alex Hailey's "Root's" came out, I distinctly recall quite a bit of boobage bouncing about, but that apparently was allowed to pass the censors because of historical accuracy.

    What Mr. Timberlake coined a "wardrobe malfunction", at least from my recollection, looked intentional. However when Lucy Lawless had an honest to god "malfunction" and they flopped out above her costume, when she raised her arms, after singing the National Anthem, one could tell that clearly wasn't intentional and I vaguely recall her apologizing afterwards.

    Personally, I don't see what the ruckus is all about as there have certainly been much more risque' things broadcast over the public airwaves, during "family time". But is it worth a half mil in fines? Nah. But I do believe Mr. Timberlake deserves a punch to the neck for the assumption that the most of the American public would be that stupid to believe such a steaming load of crap, in his assertion that it was a "malfunction".

    I chose Paris because even she isn't quite that stupid... Close but not quite.

  18. Mat

    @ bws

    I am not entirely convinced that Mr Timberlake would even know what a 'malfunction' was..

  19. Sceptical Bastard


    ... is the Playmobile reconstruction of La Jackson's indiscretion?

    This story is about tits: we want pictures!

  20. Bronek Kozicki

    the country of hypocrites

    nipples = bad , guns everywhere = good. Invigilation on everyone in the name of democracy

    Luckily I'm not going to US anytime soon.

  21. Teh Tom
    Thumb Down


    'Nuff said.

  22. Zmodem


    a partial nip is nothing to a big ass in a thong washing a car on mtv

  23. Glyn


    While complaining about Janet (a boob at the best of times) no-one complained about the erectile disfunction products that were pushed in every commercial break and as someone pointed out at the time, no kid ever went to his parents what's that bouncy thing where as I'll bet a mighty 3p that a lot said "Daddy, daddy , what's erectile disfunction"

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    US double standards again...

    All this from the country that gives us a major slice of the world's porn.

    Anyway, from what I remember of the news reports, JJ's tit looked like it had a Borg implant instead of a nipple......

    (Paris 'cos she doesn't appear to have proper tits either - more like 2 aspirins on an ironing board)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone else wrote

    a flash of a breast caused more outrage than dead and dying bodies on prime time news. What kind of country is this?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just realised something

    I have no idea what the song actually was. Anyone enlighten me?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    nine sixteenths

    Lucky it was nine sixteenths and not eight sixteenths as then it could have been deemed to be an illegal subliminal image in the UK!

    (Tech note: anyone remember the BBC computer series from ~15 years ago where they provided extra info just after after the credits in aroudn 10secs that was designed to be VCR-ed and then replayed by stepping through frame by frame ... until it was pointed out that deliberately introducing images of a half second or less was banned in the UK)

  28. Paul Talbot


    This is just dumb, but understandable since the nation was founded by our rejected prudes. I saw a bra advert on Spanish TV a few weeks ago, which contained raw breast action for about 5 seconds in the middle of a weekday afternoon. I doubt any Spanish people even noticed.

  29. Jon

    @P. Lee

    Well said, I am fed up of all the cr@p that the music industry can get away with singing. Most 'urban' music sings about acts that are far beyond the stuff the new porn laws ban and this is marketed at kids.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sexist racists

    The lot of them.

    I physically felt ill watching The Hoff running on the beach, topless mind you, man boobs a bouncing. No fines from the FCC for that show though. But a brief glimpse of a black girls baby feeder and everyone is up in arms.

    Typical Americans, wanted independence to stop slavery etc but their attitude is still of their (former) British overlords. Might as well go back under colonial rule.

    Paris - wardrobe malfunction personified

  31. Mr Chris

    PLee and Jon

    Are they Twat O Tron pseudonyms?

  32. Dave Bell

    How time flies...

    I have only seen a few pictures of Janet Jackson, but I'm not inclined to criticise her body.

    Pity about her brains.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    There's hope for America yet. ®

    No there isn't.

    500,000 phoned to complain about 1 sixteenth of a second. Eh....

    Who were they, people from the bible belt???? In which case what were they doing watching the show. It is a western event filled with debauchery that is the pro football circuit, with it's false idols and bright and eluring showmanship. Semi naked ladies dancing at the side of the pitch.

    Apart from that the fact it went to court for something in 2004.... 4 years ago. That sums up how much hope there is for america.

  34. Johnny Honk

    I complained too

    The clip wasn't long enough and pausing the video for too long while I studied the issue at hand burned in my plasma... there should be a law against this

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    500,000 Neanderthals

    They are not like us, they are not like us, they are not like us.

    These 1/2 million people worry me more than global warming, and I am a paid up tree hugger.

    Sod the progressive consensus, these people are stuck in the stone age. Hey guys, the trick is to bang the rocks together.

  36. Adrian Jones

    Half a million complaints?

    Are they sure that all of those half a million people were complaining about Janet's breast?

    I'm sure a good proportion of complaints about "seeing a tit on the TV" would've been referring to Justin Timberlake.

  37. Peyton
    Thumb Up


    *loves all the outrage over the outrage*

  38. CyberSword
    Black Helicopters

    Breast feeding

    I think a fine like that proofs once and for all that not breastfeeding harms your child in more ways then you can imagine

  39. TeeCee Gold badge

    Ah! remember it well.

    There was indeed a complete tit in shot. It was for waaay longer than 9/16ths of a second and nothing to do with Janet Jackson though.

    Until I saw this, I was living with the illusion that "a pair of Timberlakes" was something to do with hiking boots. You live and learn.

  40. regadpellagru
    Paris Hilton

    Darwin wins

    .2 % of a country's population signing such nonsense is a lot !

    But, looking at the positive angle, if they are so shocked at something that used to be present (and permanent) even on some country money bills (100 french francs), there's actually not any chance they'll give birth during their life time.

    So, Darwin wins, and this country's people will actually be better.

    PH icon, for trivial reasons ...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Sexist racists

    Typical Americans, wanted independence to stop slavery etc but their attitude is still of their (former) British overlords. Might as well go back under colonial rule.

    Not sure where you get the idea Americans wanted independence to stop slavery from - as far as I was aware they seemed to have a few other issues

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Why just one?

    Pity she didnt flash both of them. Then I could have posted something about a another daft prosecution going tits up.

    Ok, Ok, I'm on me way.

  43. Doug Glass

    Class Act ???

    Would the original incident be classified as a "cock up"?

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Cum again

    Perhaps the real problem was not the tit per se, but that it was black?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Malfunction"... arse. Why was she wearing a *decorative* nipple shield if she wasn't expecting the bra cup to get dislodged?

    Not that it's a deal of any size whatsoever, since she *was* wearing a nipple shield (as far as I can remember, or she has a verrry strange nipple...). There are smaller bikinis in many moving picture productions that are allowed to be shown pre-watershed.

  46. Mike Holden

    I think you mean

    I think you mean "execrable" (as in disagreeable, abhorent) rather than excretable (unless you actually mean "of or relating to the process of excretion").

    Note - if you want to use big words that you don't understand, look them up first.

    No, actually, as you were. You're saying it's all a load of crap aren't you?

  47. Bucky


    Of course it wasn't a "malfunction."

    I think the reason that it ended up being such a big deal was partly because people (meaning the FCC) felt insulted when they were asked to believe it was all an accident. The "wardrobe malfunction" statement was what enraged the public and the FCC. And this is of course why the decision was overturned--the punishment didn't match the actual crime.

    I recall a lawsuit many years back where a woman subverted the non-spill lid of a coffee cup at a drive-through window, decanted the coffee onto her lap, and then turned around and sued McDonald's because--gasp--the coffee was hot and burned her. McDonald's was fined a huge sum (later greatly reduced) by the jury not because the woman's case was so strong, but because the McDonald's law team was so insulting and abrasive.

    If Jackson and Timberlake had just come clean and admitted that they thought it wouldn't be a big deal, and they thought the nipple shield was going to be enough, it would have all blown over. But they had to be dicks about the whole thing.

  48. RW


    Recommended reading:

    "Mrs Grundy: Studies in English Prudery" by Peter Fryer, publ. Dobson Books, London, 1963.

    [Over 300 used copies via]

  49. Alan Ferris
    Paris Hilton

    Nine Sixteenths of a second !

    How do you make it last that long ?

  50. Zmodem

    Hail the nipple sheild

    Hail them

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whoaaaaa TIT's : )

    9/16ths of a second? No after rewinding it and seeing it 427 times, the said nipple, from nipple rise to FULL osbcuration to the edge of the aerola, was actually on display for 8.7275 /16ths of a second.

    We must be clear here.....

    A nipple viewing, is actually classed as ONE to THREE seconds, depending upon distance, angle to camera, and speed of referential movement between the viewing mechanisim and the said nipple.

    If a nipple is only fleetingly glimpsed, it is officially classed by the FCCC as a nipple blip or nip-blip for short.

    However the panel remains perpetually undecided as to the variations and scope for further perception in terms of breast size and nipple size and nipple tone or color.

    Sincerely yours

    Christian Khnobbjob


  52. Jim
    Thumb Down

    @ Bucky

    "I recall a lawsuit many years back where a woman subverted the non-spill lid of a coffee cup at a drive-through window, decanted the coffee onto her lap, and then turned around and sued McDonald's because--gasp--the coffee was hot and burned her."

    And don't go all Ted Frank on us...

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