CBS Argues That Halftime Show Was Not Indecent
September 12, 2007

At Tuesday's "nipplegate" hearing before the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, CBS Corp. argued that it should not be held liable for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction" because the stunt was both unscripted and unintended. CBS also said that if the FCC's $550,000 fine is upheld, it will effectively censor U.S. broadcasting. CBS lawyer Robert Corn-Revere urged the court to overturn the fine and said the ruling has had a "profoundly censorious effect" on U.S. broadcasting by deterring stations from showing material that could possibly be considered indecent, according to Reuters. The network feels that by fining them, the FCC has abandoned its policy of avoiding penalties for "fleeting" or "isolated" images.

However, FCC attorney Eric Miller defended the decision that the halftime show was indecent because it was a "highly sexualized performance" even before the brief breast exposure. Miller claims that CBS had been "willful" in its broadcast because it failed to guard against indecency. He said the National Football League had expressed concern beforehand about the sexually charged performance and that Jackson's choreographer said in advance the show would contain "some shocking moments." "CBS was indifferent to the fact that an obvious risk can constitute a deliberate omission," Miller argued, according to Reuters.

Miller also said that Jackson and halftime co-star Justin Timberlake were employees of CBS, therefore the network should have to pay for their actions. However, Julio Fuentes, one member of the three-judge panel, challenged that claim. "That doesn't make sense at all," Fuentes said, according to Reuters. "They were not employees of CBS, were they?"

The network immediately apologized after the incident aired and both Jackson and Timberlake confirmed they planned it "independently and clandestinely" without informing anyone, according to court documents. At the time, Jackson released a statement saying, "The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show was made after final rehearsals. [Halftime show producer] MTV was completely unaware of it. It was not my intention that it go as far as it did."

The court is expected to rule in the coming months but it did not indicate exactly when.

Breaking News
Emmis Announces Second Quarter Earnings
WiLD 94.9 Names Julian On The Radio Afternoon Drive Host
Entercom Atlanta Promotes Michael Chase to Director of Marketing & Promotions At Star 94
KNEV/Reno Turns On Classic Hip Hop
Benztown Partners With Dash Radio
October 7, 2015
Ellen K To Launch A New Morning Show On KOST/Los Angeles
Pandora To Acquire Ticketfly
Slow Jams Launches New Throwback Edition
Steven Meyers Promoted To Director/Digital Operations At Greater Media
October 6, 2015
Bubba The Love Sponge Apologizes For Ratings Tampering
Cumulus Launches Classic Hip Hop 98.3 The Vibe
Jon Platt Named CEO At Warner/Chappell
CBS Radio Names Sam Rogers VP, National Sales & Corporate Partnerships
In Brief - October 6, 2015
October 5, 2015
Beasley Media Group Announces Actions Against Todd Clem AKA, ‘Bubba The Love Sponge’
iHeartMedia Presents "iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2015 Concert Tour"
Steve Mills Named iHeartMedia’s Chief Information Officer
Puff Daddy Brings Bad Boy To Epic Records
Charlamagne Tha God Renews With iHeartMedia
In Brief - October 5, 2015
October 2, 2015
2015 NAB Marconi Radio Award Winners Announced
In Brief - October 2, 2015
October 1, 2015
Cumulus Announces Programming Moves In Indianapolis & Atlanta
iHeartMedia Savannah Names Jonathan "JR" Reed Program Director At WAEV
Concord Bicycle Music Announces Major Strategic Investment In Razor & Tie Enterprises LLC
Music News
Janet Jackson, N.W.A. and More Up For Rock Hall
Quick Hits: Rihanna, Ciara, Deadmau5
Selena Gomez Maps Out Revival Tour
Quick Hits: RIAA Gold & Platinum, Cage The Elephant, Kurt Cobain, American Music Awards / Jennifer Lopez
Quick Hits: Kendrick Lamar, Brian Fallon, Ten Commandos, The Cure, Lollapalooza South America, JoJo, Courtney Barnett
Fetty Wap Debuts Atop Billboard 200 Chart
Quick Hits: Miley Cyrus & Flaming Lips, Will Smith, Maynard James Keenan, Ben Folds
Deluxe Edition of Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour Announced
Quick Hits: Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Megadeth, Beastie Boys
Quick Hits: Fifth Harmony, Train's Pat Monahan, Seal, Roger Waters
Beyoncé, Jay Z & Prince Headlining Massive TIDAL X Charity Concert
Quick Hits: The Who, Ed Sheeran, Bleachers, American Music Awards, Katy Perry / Sting, Austin City Limits
Quick Hits: Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar
Seven New Albums Debut In Billboard 200's Top Ten
Quick Hits: Kelly Clarkson, Fetty Wap, Corey Taylor

Mark Adams
San Francisco

FMQB Member Login

Not a member yet?
Sign up Now!
Sign Up for Breaking News!
Enter FMQB E-Tracking!