The 36-year-old singer announced his big gig in a skit with late-night host Jimmy Fallon on Saturday night.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) October 23, 2017
The last time Timberlake performed at the Super Bowl was alongside Janet Jackson in 2004, where he infamously exposed Jackson’s breast — a.k.a. “Nipplegate” — at the end of their duet. Jackson is still banned from the Super Bowl after the incident, which brought humanity the term “wardrobe malfunction.”
Social media lit up post-announcement by people who believe it’s not right for Timberlake to be able to perform and not Jackson; many also questioned why her career carries this long shadow while his remains blemish-free.
Some speculated that Timberlake will bring out Jackson for the performance in a surprise move for the audience.
If Justin Timberlake doesn't bring out Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl halftime I'm gonna take a knee
— Ray Rahman (@RayRahman) October 23, 2017
— shauna (@goldengateblond) October 23, 2017
Others had no sympathy and said there was no reason why Timberlake shouldn’t be banned too.
Why is Justin Timberlake being invited to perform again when Janet Jackson is banned for life for something that was entirely his fault🙄 pic.twitter.com/5btOvDZDKq
— 🍋 (@legendary_hoe) October 23, 2017
If Janet Jackson can’t ever perform at the Super Bowl again then Justin Timberlake shouldn’t be able to either 🤷🏾♀️
— A Definite Maybe (@Pic_Nikk) October 23, 2017
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
Justin Timberlake officially doing Super Bowl halftime. Dream setlist:
– 9-minute Janet Jackson apology
– "Gone" (w/ *NSYNC)
— Jason Lipshutz (@jasonlipshutz) October 23, 2017
Janet Jackson: banned. Justin Timberlake: welcome back. Look, guys, a guy getting to do what a woman can’t is just on brand for 2017, okay?
— Leanna Renee (@leannuh_renay) October 23, 2017
The “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004 took place while Timberlake sang the final line “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” He reached across Jackson and pulled away part of her costume, exposing her breast for roughly half a second.
After the incident, Jackson apologized (and later retracted the apology when outrage reached a fever pitch). She ultimately claimed it was an accident and she didn’t think an apology was appropriate.
She was subsequently blacklisted from most radio, if not all, and at the time any channel playing music videos didn’t play hers. She was “uninvited” from the 2004 Grammys, where she was scheduled to introduce a tribute to Luther Vandross.
Timberlake, meanwhile, not only attended the Grammys, but took home two awards.
Timberlake also performed as part of ‘N Sync at the 2001 Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LII takes place on Feb. 8 at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
Jackson has not commented on Timberlake’s announcement.
— With files from ET Canada