MINNEAPOLIS- Millions of Super Bowl LII viewers paid close attention to Justin Timberlake’s halftime show performance eagerly awaiting another wardrobe malfunction. It was in 2004 when Justin joined Janet Jackson on stage for the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, which ended with Timberlake tearing off a piece of Jackson’s costume and exposing her right breast. It’s been 14 years since the controversial incident and now with Justin’s return to the halftime show, rumors swirled that Timberlake had reached an agreement with the NFL to expose himself during the last minute of his performance. Timberlake was convinced by producers that this would bolster record sales of his latest album, and the NFL hoped that Justin’s “Dick Slip” would shift focus away from the controversy surrounding NFL players taking a knee during national anthems.
The highly anticipated performance was recording on DVR everywhere while RK Productions, the company producing the halftime show, had camera’s angled in every direction so the infamous dick slip would be broadcasted in high-definition to televisions across the globe. Timberlake was performing the last song of his set while viewers watched and waited for it. But to our dismay, it never happened. The music stopped, the lights turned on, and the show cut to commercial. Producers scrambled to insert audio of cheering fans because the silence in the stands was deafening.
At rehearsal, Justin concludes the show on a center stage performing his hit song, Can’t Stop the Feeling. In the last 4 seconds of the song, Justin was to have his pants fall to his ankles for 2 seconds before a back up dance blocks the view. But Justin strayed from the rehearsed performance and instead, ran into the stands and ended the show taking selfies with fans. Backstage at the U.S. Bank Stadium, one witness described a heated verbal exchange between Timberlake’s entourage and the show’s producer, Ricky Kishner. Within minutes, the performance was trending on social media as, #DickSlipFail, leaving Timberlake no choice but to immediately release an apology in a statement posted via Twitter. “The decision to not have a dick slip at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals. NBC was completely unaware of it. I apologize to anyone I disappointed– including the audience, NBC, and the NFL”.
Promptly following the Super Bow halftime show, NBC, the channel broadcasting the Superbowl, published a statement apologizing for the disappointing performance, explaining that, “Justin Timberlake did not perform the dick slip as rehearsed which was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance.” But the public shaming and isolation didn’t stop there. Justin was scheduled to perform at the 5th iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 11th, but was swiftly removed from the event with no explanation provided, other than the change listed on the show’s website. At the same time, Comcast Corporation, the second-largest pay-TV company and owner of NBC, released plans to blacklist all of Timberlake’s singles and music videos by banning his music from all the TV channels and radio stations the company owns, which is sure to make his new album, Man of the Woods, his lowest-selling album ever. The disgraced singer is also being asked for his resignation from a set movie deal he had just signed, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has cancelled all upcoming appearances by Timberlake, including this evening’s scheduled post-Super Bowl episode. In the first hour following Justin;s performance, the FCC reportedly received 211,000 complaints regarding #DickSlipFail, mostly from married women and gay men.