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Justin Timberlake Can’t Get Outta The Streaming Spotlight As Hulu Follows Up Framing Britney Spears With Janet Jackson Nipplegate Project

Justin Timberlake in Palmer
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Justin Timberlake has been laying relatively low over the past several months, aside from posting on Instagram here and there. The singer, songwriter, producer and actor found himself in the middle of a situation involving ex-girlfriend Britney Spears earlier this year. After the release of the Framing Britney Spears documentary in February, he received backlash for his alleged role in negatively altering public perception of his ex. Around the same time, the “Mirrors” singer was also criticized for his role in the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show incident involving Janet Jackson. Now, Timberlake is falling back to the streaming spotlight, as a project on “Nipplegate” is on the way. 

FX and Hulu, which distributed the Britney Spears-centric doc, are reteaming with The New York Times to produce Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson. Directed by veteran filmmaker Jodi Gomes, the doc will reportedly seek to shed light on the infamous 2004 incident. And more specifically it will examine its effects on the careers of the two music stars who were involved. 

For those who may not be aware, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed together for Super Bowl XXXVIII’s halftime show, in a telecast that was reportedly viewed by more than 140 million people at the time. Near the end of the performance, Timberlake tore off a portion of Jackson’s black leather ensemble, which was intended to be part of a costume reveal. However, instead of revealing the red lace bra she was wearing, the action actually caused her breast to be briefly exposed. 

The incident drew serious backlash at the time, causing the “SexyBack” singer’s reps to attempt to clarify the situation. The performer eventually apologized for his role in what’s been called a “wardrobe malfunction” in the years since. However, many have argued that his career remained stable (and even improved) after the situation, while the “Rhythm Nation” performer’s was negatively impacted and never the same. According to the official announcement, this is what the upcoming documentary wants to zero in on. And it’ll apparently attempt to make the case with unseen footage and interviews from those who were working the game that night in Houston. 

Following the reignited backlash stirred up by Framing Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake posted a message in which he apologized to both the “Oops!... I Did It Again” performer and Janet Jackson. In his statement, he said that he “cares deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved” and stated that “I can do better and I will do better.” Shortly after, Jackson took to social media and, while she didn’t name Timberlake specifically, she thanked her fans for the support they’d shown. Meanwhile, Spears was reportedly not aiming to get involved, though sources alleged that she didn’t want her fans talking badly of Timberlake. 

In the years since “Nipplegate,” additional details have been alleged regarding the situation. Stylist Wayne Scot Lukis recently claimed that Justin Timberlake was ultimately responsible for what transpired. According to Lukis, Janet Jackson was originally going to wear a different outfit, one that would’ve allegedly revealed her butt. However, things changed a few days before the performance, which Lukis seemed to imply was because of Timberlake. 

If this new doc is indeed like Framing Britney Spears, then it could indeed stir up more discussion. We’ll see how things play out when Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson premieres on November 19 at 10 p.m. ET simultaneously on FX and Hulu.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.