Who planned the Super Bowl halftime incident, and should there be punishment?

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Sunday's Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers featured more than just a titillating winning-field-goal finish: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's performance at halftime included Jackson's bared right breast when Timberlake ripped a piece from her costume. CBS quickly switched to another camera, but the incident was nonetheless relayed to an estimated 140 million viewers. In statements after the Super Bowl, Jackson, Timberlake, MTV (which produced the halftime show) and CBS all apologized to the public, with Timberlake calling the incident a "wardrobe malfunction" and Jackson saying the decision to have a costume reveal was made after final rehearsals without MTV's knowledge. Parents' groups and the NFL have expressed outrage at the incident, and the FCC has ordered an investigation with a potential for fines. What do you think? Was Jackson's breast-baring intentional, and if so, who knew about it before the show? What punishment, if any, should be applied? Send us your thoughts.

Some of your responses:

Doesn't this nation have anything better to worry about?
Cadie Wright
Minneapolis, Minn.

What would happen if a child at school pulled off a portion of another child's clothing? If Janet and Justin are not punished, then what precident have we created for our children?
Mae Fraser
West Chester, Pa.

As far as punishment, it probably should be handed down to Justin and Janet but not to the networks. The action was intentional on [Timberlake and Jackson's] part and the act was premeditated and withheld from the networks that hired them. While the harm might be considered minimal by some, the act was apparently for shock value and at the least, was in very poor taste.
Dennis Astley
Bryan, Ohio

No, no punishment should be handed out. We should just be a society that lets it all hang out (so to speak). We should long to be like our illuminated brethren in Europe who have found true meaning and greatness in decadence. Our lack of moral fiber and sense of righteousness is what made this the greatest nation on the earth...right?
Tim Stutler
Glasgow, Ky.

What nonsense! What exactly did we see? Half of a bared breast? Turn on MTV, or any soap opera and you see stuff ten times as revealing as that. It's okay for television to broadcast shows that glorify and promote violence, but it's not okay to catch a glimpse of a half of a breast. Where are our priorities?
Jonah Morris
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Nudity in and of itself is not objectionable. What is objectionable is the forum chosen for this vulgar display. Viewers could not exercise any choice in whether to view nudity or to allow their children to be exposed to it. A fitting punishment may be the suspension of MTV's license to broadcast for a year.
Roger LeBlanc
Westfield, Mass.

My youngest kid doesn't like American football; as a rabid fan myself I lured him into the TV room at halftime to see the show. He promised to see all [future] Super Bowls with me. Thanks, Janet.
Oscar Arguelles
Mexico City, Mexico

What punishment? Punishment for what? Should Janet be stoned to death for showing a little more skin than usual? Is there really a difference between the Taliban and the huge amount of Christian fundamentalists in America? This whole ridiculous outrage only shows that US children should be shown more boobs on TV, not less. Grow up. Evolve.
Boris Muster
Los Angeles, Calif.

MTV! Society is really failing our young when a singer can't be considered good unless she/he has to act like a slut to get hit records. No wonder there are so many young kids on drugs, or have AIDS or are alcoholics. MTV teaches them this is okay behavior. Whatever happened to moral values in this country?!
Sandra York

Football is legal. Performing a sexually-provacative half-time show is legal. Public nudity is NOT legal. There should be jail time and/or a substantial fine for such illegal actions.
Des Moines, Iowa

I see you are posting a majority of responses that say it's no big deal. Most Americans are outraged. TIME, your liberal slant fools no one. Ever wonder why your circ is dropping?
Peter Zoeller
Wilmington, N.C.

No — but I wouldn't watch MTV anymore. Plus, if attention is what they were going for, the media made the endeavour successful.
Kendra Oliver
Pittsburgh, Pa.

CBS, MTV, Jackson and Timberlake all should be heavily fined! The Super Bowl is a family show, not a strip show. The disgusting exploitation of women for money and ratings continues. If it had been a man's penis shown, I bet there would be a lot more people up in arms. The FCC has been asleep at the wheel for years. The entire halftime show was tacky, to include Kid Rock defacing the American flag.
Sharon Hickey
Houston, Texas

It was a boob, not brains spilled all over the road! Lighten up, America. If anything should come out of this, just keep track of the 30 second delay next time. The international streaker wasn't shown until other "news" stations showed it. Final score: MTV 1, Janet and Justin 1, and CBS 140 million viewers.
Jessica Land
Clear Lake, Iowa

While I wasn't offended, I'm glad my grandchildren weren't sitting next to me. That applies to most of the half-time show. It would be interesting to see the effect if all municipalities where the show was aired were to levy fines against MTV, NBC, Jackson, Timberlake, et al. for indecent exposure. Might clean TV up somewhat.
Mike Spengel
Mililani Town, Hawaii

Let's see. There was one commercial where a dog bit a man in his crotch. Another one in which we observed a horse farting in someone's face. Then we had the act where the entertainer cut up an American flag and used it for his stage costume. I'm not saying that this was the time to do something like this, but come on. Is seeing half of a womans breast for one second worst than everything else that was going on during those three hours?
Norman Gray
Detroit, Mich.

Of all the things going on in the U.S. (like your utterly corrupt administration in the White House), of all the scandals (Halliburton, lack of WMD, the Plame affair, to name a few), this is what the media is concerned with?! Hello? Is there anyone out there who cares that the U.S. is falling apart?
Amal Chaaban
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Europeans rightly laugh at American fundementalism. "Super Bowl Debacle"?!? In the midst of two hours of bone-breaking ultra-violence, viewers are suddenly treated to a brief view of something that is a symbol of nurturing and goodness! Yes, perhaps exposed for crass commercial reasons, but it's just one of 300 million to be found in America. There are other boobs Americans should be more concerned about. Like George Dubious?
Michael West

The NFL knew what they were getting themselves into. Come on, think about it: The halftime show was hosted by MTV, the same station that had Madonna and Britney Spears kissing. The NFL got what they wanted: the most watched Super Bowl in history. The NFL also got a wider range of audience, with younger people watching it just because MTV is hosting it. I should know; I am 18.
Bashaun Smith
Cleveland, Ohio

Every party involved is getting piles of PR mileage: Even MTV's Tom Freston couldn't help using the name of one of his network's TV shows when saying how shocked (shocked!) he was. Meanwhile, outrage fetishists nationwide get their fix. This is a no-fault car accident. Everyone wins (except the teams that actually played a great game). On the other hand, what's more disturbing: Jackson's not-entirely-unpleasant appendage, or Mike Ditka talking about his erection during the commercials?
Sean Carolan
Freehold, N.J.

It's been so overblown. Janet has apologized and explained that it went too far. The powers that be act like she committed murder! CBS has top-rated CSI, a show which shows graphic corpses, and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Isn't it time this right-winged puritanical tide in this country stop? Censorship and restrictions only make a society more subversive and people act out. Let's move on to something worth talking about.
Los Angeles, Calif.

There's no doubt that a punishment should be handed to someone, but who? CBS is responsible for the broadcast, MTV is responsible for producing the show, Janet and Justin are responsible for the lack of moral judgement and last but certainly not least are the parents of Janet and Justin for their failure to teach the difference between right and wrong.
Chris Bragg
Jane Lew, W.Va.

With all the problems facing American today — terrorism, soaring deficits, the Iraqi War — does the showing of a breast pose problems that requires a commission to be set up? Threats from al-Qaeda pose a greater threat to our nation and children then a woman's breast. Let's keep the focus on real problems, and the commissions for real threats!
Ricardo Simone
Somers Point, N.J.

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