Tom Brady Says Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction Was Good for the NFL
His comment about the infamous Super Bowl incident isn't going over well with everyone.
Janet Jackson's performance at the 2004 Super Bowl is still one of the most remembered—arguably the most remembered—halftime show appearances of all time. Due to what was deemed a "wardrobe malfunction" at the end of her performance with Justin Timberlake, Jackson had the entire country talking, and she faced immediate consequences. In a new interview, one of football's biggest stars of all time, Tom Brady, talked about the Jackson incident and said that he thinks it was actually a good thing—at least, for the NFL.
Read on to find out what the recently retired player had to say about Jackson's performance and its effect on football, and why his comments have sparked backlash.
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Jackson's performance was very controversial.
In 2004, Jackson was part of an ensemble Super Bowl performance that included Timberlake, Nelly, Diddy, Jessica Simpson, and Kid Rock. At the end of the show, Jackson and Timberlake performed his song "Rock Your Body." When Timberlake sang the lyric, "Bet I'll have you naked by the end of this song," he pulled off a piece of Jackson's top, which exposed her breast, with her nipple covered only by body jewelry.
The performance faced immediate backlash, and Jackson and Timberlake both apologized. They said it was an accident and that he was only meant to remove one layer of fabric from her costume. In response, Jackson's music was pulled from certain TV networks and radio stations, and she was disinvited from performing at and attending the Grammys, according to Billboard.
Timberlake did not face the same consequences, and performed the Super Bowl halftime show again in 2018.
Brady said he didn't watch the halftime show live.
As reported by Variety, during a Feb. 13 appearance on the podcast Let's Go!, Brady talked about the 2004 halftime show. That year, Brady's New England Patriots won the Super Bowl 32-29 against the Carolina Panthers. It was Brady's second Super Bowl win.
On the podcast, Brady said that he generally didn't watch halftime shows during his 10 Super Bowl appearances.
"Even I remember when we beat Carolina in  we came off the field and that was when we had the wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson," he recalled. "[The media was] asking me about that. I couldn't even understand what they were telling me about. They were like, 'Did you see the halftime show?' and I said, 'Nah, I didn't see anything. I was thinking about the game' … It took a while for us to figure out exactly what had gone on."
Brady thinks the incident was good for the NFL.
Brady went on to say that when it comes to the 2004 halftime show, basically, any press is good press.
"I think in the end, it was probably a good thing for the NFL because everyone got to talk about it," the 45-year-old said. "And it was just more publicity and more publicity for halftime shows. Is any publicity bad publicity? That's what they say, so, who knows?"
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Some people aren't thrilled with Brady's comment.
Given the way the situation affected Jackson, some people are not happy with Brady's comment and see it as flippant.
"Janet Jackson faced public humiliation and outright misogynoir resulting in her getting blacklisted by the former CEO of CBS, but Tom Brady thinks all of that was ok because all publicity is good publicity. Sick," reads one tweet.
Another Twitter user wrote, "Okay, but I think in his whole commentary here he misses how god awful it must have been for Janet."
Someone else said, "Janet's career and legacy was nearly DESTROYED due to the incident, and the ONLY thing Tom Brady can speak on NOW after 19 years is the publicity of the NFL?"
Jackson commented on the situation years later.
In a Jan. 2022 interview with Allure, Jackson commented on the Super Bowl performance and talked about how she got through the backlash. "What's really important is going back to having that foundation. Not just family, but God. That's what really pulled me through," she said. "It's tough for me to talk about that time."
Timberlake commented on the incident in 2021 and publicly apologized to Jackson. Timberlake had been seen as letting her take the heat while not recognizing his privilege.
"I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right," he wrote in a statement. "I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and have benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism."
As reported by L'Officiel, in her 2022 Lifetime documentary, Jackson said, "Justin and I are very good friends and we always will be. We talked a few days ago. He and I have moved on and it's time for everyone to do the same."