CBS boss Les Moonves was so incensed by Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the network’s 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that he sought to ban her from all CBS and Viacom properties and undercut her career, according to a report Thursday by HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, Ali wrote that Moonves considered the singer insufficiently repentant following the Super Bowl incident, in which Justin Timberlake pulled at Jackson’s bustier and exposed her nipple for just over half a second.
Both singers insisted the exposure was accidental, but CBS was fined $550,000 by the FCC for the live breach of broadcast standards.
According to Ali’s sources, Moonves nixed Jackson’s planned performance at the 2004 Grammys later that month, ordered VH1 and MTV to stop playing her videos and directed Viacom-owned radio stations to pull her songs from their playlists. (CBS was then a division of Viacom, though it was spun off into an independent company in 2006.)
Even seven years after the Super Bowl controversy, Ali wrote, Moonves became angry when he learned that Viacom’s Simon & Schuster publishing division had signed a book deal with Jackson for “True You: A Journey to Finding Yourself.”
According to Ali, Moonves told one individual, “How the f— did she slip through?”
Reps for CBS and Jackson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.
Moonves is currently negotiating with the CBS board for his possible exit from the company just months after The New Yorker reported multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks.