Justin Timberlake is returning to the Super Bowl halftime stage 14 years after his infamous guest appearance with Janet Jackson. But amidst excited reactions, some people won't be thrilled unless the duo is given an equal shot at redemption.
After Timberlake was announced as the headliner for Super Bowl 52's Pepsi Halftime show on Sunday, the hashtag #JusticeForJanet began trending on Twitter.
Fans acknowledge that, following the backlash of Jackson's 2004 wardrobe malfunction during "Rock Your Body," she was the one who took the hardest hit despite Timberlake being the one who ripped off her rubber bustier, revealing her bare breast and nipple shield.
Unless Justin Timberlake starts his set by introducing Janet Jackson with an apology and then continues watching quietly while she does 12 minutes of her catalog solo, the Super Bowl can keep this halftime show.— Crystal Methanny (@RafiDAngelo) October 23, 2017
Both Timberlake and Jackson issued public apologies after what they claim was an accident, but only Jackson was reportedly banned from the 2004 Grammys and her singles were blacklisted by Viacom's multiple entertainment outlets.
When the incident aired live to nearly 90 million viewers, many speculated that the indecent exposure was a publicity stunt rather than an innocent malfunction. But Jackson's rep revealed that the plan wasn't to fully expose her breast — only to partially rip her clothing to coincide with the "have you naked by the end of this song" line.
Justin Timberlake being welcomed back to the Super Bowl with open arms is the definition of white privilege. #JusticeforJanet— Katy Clark (@AllEyesOnKaty) October 23, 2017
"Justin was supposed to pull away the rubber bustier to reveal a red lace bra. The garment collapsed and her breast was accidentally revealed," her rep wrote in a statement.
As critics used the Super Bowl news as evidence that Timberlake's career after the incident was only catapulted while Jackson's was squashed, the #JusticeForJanet gained steam.
Some fans wrote that Jackson wouldn't be allowed to perform because she's been banned by the NFL, but the league says that isn't true.
The NFL banned Janet Jackson but they are bringing back Justin Timberlake to perform because Justin has the complexion for the protection pic.twitter.com/FwP0EY2wUk— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 23, 2017
"There's no ban," the league confirmed to TMZ Sports, denying rumors that the "Rythym Nation" singer wouldn't be allowed to perform at any NFL events.
While Timberlake may headline the show as a solo act or use the show to bring Jackson back to the stage, neither have spoken out about the performance's possibilities since the announcement.
In the meantime, Timberlake's former boy band *NSYNC has congratulated the singer on social media, leaving other fans rooting for a "Bye Bye Bye" reunion during the Minneapolis show on February 4.
Photo credit: Getty / Kevin Mazur