Justin Timberlake has to sign a no-nudity clause in his contract if he wants to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, according to a report. The story, of course, is based on the infamous wardrobe malfunction during his 2004 performance with Janet Jackson. But is it true? Gossip Cop investigated.
At Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Halftime Show showcased a number of artists, including Kid Rock, Nelly and Diddy. The closing song featured Timberlake and Jackson singing “Rock Your Body” as a duet. At the conclusion of the final line, “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” he pulled at a Jackson’s top and her breast was exposed. Whether this was an intentional act has sparked years of debate, and the live moment has remained one of TV’s most controversial scandals. And neither superstar has performed at the Super Bowl since.
But there’s much speculation that Timberlake is in the running to lead 2018’s Halftime performance at Super Bowl LII. And so, the National Enquirer is running a story headlined, “Justin Nips Halftime Nudity In The Bud!” In the article, it’s alleged that his “contract to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 4 includes a non-nudity clause.” A so-called “mole” is quoted as saying, “The last time Justin performed, Janet Jackson’s nipple was exposed to the world. The NFL wants to make sure that never happens again.”
“Putting a nudity clause in his contract is only responsible given his history with the show. It makes total sense,” claims the supermarket tabloid’s supposed source. And because it sounds logical and rational, the gossip magazine assumed readers would easily accept this article as real news. But it’s actually fake news that uses Timberlake’s Super Bowl past and current rumors about the upcoming event to form a false narrative.
Here’s what makes more sense than an actual no-nudity clause: Since that infamous incident, every performer is well-aware that there’d be consequences if such a flesh-baring moment happened again. We’re talking major fan backlash, FCC complaints, conservative outcry — the whole nine yards. Knowing that, why would Timberlake want to put his career in jeopardy? Why would he need a contract stipulation to know nudity would be a bad idea? Nothing needs to be spelled out for him.
Regardless, Gossip Cop is told that no “mole” or anyone else is discussing with the publication the possibility of Timberlake doing the Halftime Show, let alone the details of a potential contact for such a gig. And this outlet actually has a history of penning fictional tales just like this one. Less than two months ago, the National Enquirer falsely claimed there was a “no-nudity clause” in Daniel Craig’s James Bond contract. The naked truth, of course, is the tabloid doesn’t really know what it’s talking about.
Gossip Cop believes there to be elements of truth, but the story is ultimately misleading.