Justin Timberlake reportedly “insisted” on the Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” that dented Janet Jackson’s career for years in order to one-up Britney Spears.
In 2004, Timberlake and Jackson staged a flirtatious and fiery duet to “Rock Your Body” that ended with him tearing part of Jackson’s costume revealing, for just a fraction of a second, her uncovered breast.
Despite Timberlake tearing the outfit, Jackson was effectively stonewalled from music while his own career soared.
But Janet Jackson‘s stylist alleged to Page Six that the moment was no gaffe, but rather part of a plan to not only “outdo”, the publication said, Spears, but other female pop stars with far more original careers than his.
Moreover, he claimed that Janet Jackson has long since “forgiven” Justin Timberlake for his actions.
Justin Timberlake ‘wanted a reveal’ to upstage Britney Spears, stylist claims
Stylist Wayne Scot Lukas, who prepped Jackson for the Super Bowl XXXVIII, told the outlet that Justin Timberlake was wary of how Britney’s star was soaring as was Madonna and Christina Aguilera’s – the trio had dazzled the year before after a now-iconic kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards.
He claimed that the former NSYNC member “insisted on doing something bigger than their performance”.
“He wanted a reveal,” Lukas said, describing how Timberlake’s original vision for the performance was Jackson in a pearl G-string inspired by one that Kim Cattral wore in Sex and the City.
“Janet was going to be in a Rocha dress, and [Justin] was going to step on the back of her dress to reveal her butt in this pearl G-string,” he said.
But “the outfit changed a couple of days before, and you saw the magic”.
Scot also shrugged off the now infamous phrase that came to describe the incident – a “wardrobe malfunction”.
“I wouldn’t call it a wardrobe ‘malfunction’ in a million years,” Lukas stressed.
“It was the most functioning wardrobe in history. As a stylist, it did what it was intended to do.”
“Janet has already forgiven Justin in private,” he claimed. “They made their peace a long time ago.”
In the wake of Framing Britney Spears which, among other things, offered a damning account of how Timberlake treated Spears during their relationship, the singer has faced increased scrutiny.
Timberlake offered a vague but earnest apology to both Spears and Jackson in February. For both, he acknowledged the role that misogyny and racism played in keeping his career as a white man buoyant for so long.
Indeed, after Jackson’s breast was visible – her nipple was covered by jewellery – radio and video outlets, including MTV, blacklisted her music, all but dooming her album, Damita Jo.
Not only was a wrench thrown in her career, but her invitation to perform at the Grammys was revoked. Justin Timberlake, meanwhile, performed at the awards ceremony – and even, years later, the Super Bowl once more – all the while scooping awards.
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” the 40-year-old wrote in his social media apology.
“I specifically want to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
He said “everyone involved deserves better”, before adding: “The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way.”
PinkNews contacted a representative of Justin Timberlake for comment.