Report: Les Moonves Sabotaged Janet Jackson’s Career After Super Bowl Malfunction

CBS CEO Les Moonves set out to derail Janet Jackson’s career after her infamous wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl cost the network a massive fine from the FCC, according to sources cited by HuffPost. Multiple sources cited in the report say Moonves was convinced the malfunction—in which Jackson’s breast was briefly exposed to 100 million spectators after Justin Timberlake tore off part of her bustier—was really a publicity stunt. Moonves reportedly held a grudge against both Timberlake and Jackson at first, but softened toward Timberlake after he offered a tearful apology for the incident. The embattled chief executive, who is now reportedly on the way out at CBS following sexual-misconduct allegations, is said to have been enraged that Jackson didn’t repent as Timberlake did. He ordered VH1, MTV, and all Viacom-owned radio stations to stop playing Jackson’s videos and songs, according to sources in the report. Jackson’s career suffered significantly, but years later, Moonves was reportedly still intent on blackballing the singer. Upon learning that she got a book deal with Viacom-owned Simon & Schuster in 2011, Moonves reportedly said, “How the fuck did she slip through?”