Super Bowl LVI will fill living rooms and empty snack shelves in about four months, so it’s as good a time as any to revisit the controversial TV incident that put pop stars Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson in hot water. In spite of the supposed “wardrobe malfunction” which briefly exposed Jackson’s breast on live television happening close to 18 years ago, the controversy still springs up now and again. Most recently, Janet Jackson‘s stylist at the time has spoken out about the incident, and he has few kind words for his former friend Timberlake.
In a video interview with Access Hollywood, Wayne Scot Lukas — Jackson’s stylist who oversaw the wardrobes for 2004’s Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show — said that, contrary to Justin Timberlake’s claims that it was a “wardrobe malfunction” that exposed Jackson’s breast, the top of Jackson’s outfit was supposed to come off like it did, but that no one was supposed to see it. The screen was supposed to cut to black before anyone saw Jackson’s breast. In Lukas’ words, “somebody didn’t push the button, somebody didn’t protect my friend.” You can watch the video of Lukas’ interview below.
For those who aren’t familiar or maybe need a reminder — Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson performed a medley of their hits for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. It was during the last line of Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” that the singer tore off a piece of Jackson’s outfit, briefly exposing her breast. Lukas claims this was in part intentional, to suggest the result of the final line of “Rocky Your Body” — “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” But, again according to Lukas, the cut to black was meant to spare anyone offended by nudity, as well as protect Jackson.
Lukas’ speaking out comes hot on the heels of the documentary Malfunctioned: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, which premiered on FX last week. The stylist says he’s received death threats since the doc aired, including one threat which allegedly said Lukas would be “hanging from a tree in New Jersey.” While he doesn’t outright say it, it seems Lukas may very well lay at least part of the blame for the threats at Justin Timberlake’s feet.
The stylist told Access Hollywood he hasn’t spoken to Justin Timberlake, who Lukas used to consider a friend, since the night of the performance in 2004. He said the moment he heard Timberlake refer to it as a “wardrobe malfunction,” he thought to himself, “friendship over.” Lukas defended himself, saying “if I ever hurt my friend, I wouldn’t have worked with Janet for six years after the Super Bowl. I would have been fired that day.”
Lukas adds another interesting detail which would seem to lay the blame on the production crew side of things. He claims a version of the Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson performance — free of any exposed breasts — was shot before the live one that caused so much controversy. This, Lukas claims, is standard procedure for the Super Bowl halftime show. “The first time you shoot it, you shoot it in case the satellite goes down,” Lukas said. In other words, according to Lukas, the production crew had a second recording of the performance available which they could have cut to, but they didn’t.