Why Is The Super Bowl Halftime Show Controversial?
The Super Bowl is one of the most watched live television events in the US. Over the course of the past few decades, the Super Bowl Halftime Show has stirred some controversy due to the actions of performers. Perhaps the most well-known controversial moment occurred during the Super Bowl XXXVIII (38) Halftime Show in 2004. Janet Jackson experienced a wardrobe malfunction during her performance with Justin Timberlake that was caught on live air during the Halftime Show. However, the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake incident is just one of many controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show performances.
Super Bowl XXXVIII (38) in 2004: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
The most well-known controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show moment occurred during Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance in 2004. The incident during the Halftime Show was witnessed by 140 million viewers, both at the game and on TV. Timberlake pulled on Jackson’s clothing, which exposed her to the public. There was so much controversy surrounding the Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime Show incident that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched an investigation into the matter. Users on the Internet discussed the scandal for several years, and the controversy of the performance has impacted Jackson’s career. To this day, the Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime Show performance is still one of the most talked-about controversial moments to occur on American television.
Super Bowl XLVI (46) in 2012: M.I.A
Another controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show moment was M.I.A.’s performance at the Super Bowl XLVI (46) in 2012. While guest-starring during Madonna’s performance, M.I.A. flipped the middle finger to fans at the football game and viewers who were watching on their TV screens. The moment shocked and angered many people, and the FCC received over 200 complaints about M.I.A flipping off the crowd. The NFL sued the singer for $16 million in damages. M.I.A. eventually reached a settlement with the league, but this incident highlighted the consequences of public obscenity on live TV such as the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 50 in 2016: Beyoncé
One of the most recent controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show performances was Beyoncé’s guest performance during the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show in 2016. Despite Coldplay headlining the 2016 Halftime Show, Beyoncé stole the show with her performance of “Formation,” which was inspired by the Black Panther party. Beyoncé even wore bullets on her wardrobe, which unsettled many viewers. Much controversy has surrounded the NFL in terms of the dismissal of racism and Colin Kaepernick’s controversial act of kneeling during the national anthem, so Beyoncé’s emphasis on racial justice unsettled spectators during her performance. With that said, Beyoncé’s performance did not stir as much controversy as other performances such as Jackson’s and Timberlake’s.