Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Janet Jackson's 'flashing' saga rumbles on

The saga of Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction looks set to rumble on after the US Supreme Court ordered that a ruling quashing a fine over the incident be re-examined.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia was yesterday ordered to consider reinstating the 550,000 US dollar (£365,000) fine that had previously been imposed on broadcaster CBS in connection with the brief flashing of the singer's right breast.

It is now five years since the controversial incident, which took place during the half-time show of the 18th Super Bowl.

It occurred during a routine with Justin Timberlake, with the former boy band singer ripping off part of Jackson's top at the end of a duet.

Timberlake later put the incident down to a "wardrobe malfunction".

The initial fine was imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

But it was overturned last year, with an appeal court stating that the FCC had deviated from its approach of treating both words and images identically when it came to indecency complaints.

It ruled that the incident - which lasted nine-sixteenths of one second - should have been regarded as "fleeting" and as such not worthy of the fine.

But last week the high court upheld the FCC's policy that they could fine broadcasters for one-time use of a swear word on TV.

The decision prompted yesterday's announcement.

In a statement, CBS said the Supreme Court's decision was not a surprise. It also expressed confidence that the legal process would deem that the broadcaster could not have anticipated the wardrobe malfunction.

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