Supreme Court Refuses FCC Bid to Fine CBS for Janet Jackson Incident

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake in the second after the traumatizing “wardrobe malfunction.”

Eight years after Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the half time show of the 2004 Super Bowl, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s $550,000 indecency fine against the CBS network.

In November, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld its earlier ruling that the FCC’s indecency fine against the network was invalid.  The court didn’t say whether the incident was indecent but said the FCC’s fine represented an undisclosed change in the enforcement of its policy with regard to “fleeting images” and hence could not be enforced.

I’m so glad that this major issue can finally be put to rest.  I recall a Congressional hearing over the matter in the days after the incident and not surprised that the Republican-controlled panel would get so upset over it and not investigate whether President George W. Bush lied about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.  Never mind that football is one of the most violent sports and that the Super Bowl features scantily-clad cheerleaders bumping and grinding and ads from Viagra and Cialis warning about 4-hour erections.  Never mind also that some Super Bowl commercials show men and boys enduring groin injuries for the sake of cheap laughs.  All of that apparently is perfectly acceptable.  But, now that it’s over, we can all pick up the tattered pieces of our lives and try to move forward.

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