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Exclusive: Les Moonves Was Obsessed With Ruining Janet Jackson’s Career

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Exclusive: Les Moonves Was Obsessed With Ruining Janet Jackson’s Career, Sources Say

After the “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl, sources say, the CBS chief executive was incensed at the singer.
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CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves was incensed at Janet Jackson after the singer's infamous wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl
 
CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves was incensed at Janet Jackson after the singer’s infamous wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.  (Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

One thing that allies and critics of Les Moonves, the CEO and chairman of CBS, agree on is that he tends to remember who his enemies are, and exact revenge on them on his terms. From actors to entertainment lawyers, people who ended up on the wrong side of Moonves would often become his target for years after they upset him.

Although Moonves is embattled and likely to be ousted from CBS amid sexual harassment allegations (reportedly with a significant severance payment) following an investigation by The New Yorker, many women and men whom I contacted about Moonves’ conduct were reluctant to speak to me, even when I told them they could speak off the record.

One target of Moonves’ ire and vengefulness, according to multiple sources, was Janet Jackson.

Jackson became a years-long fixation for Moonves after the so-called “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004, when her breast was exposed for nine-sixteenths of a second after Justin Timberlake tore a piece of fabric off her bustier during their Super Bowl halftime performance. CBS and MTV (a subsidiary of Viacom, the parent company of CBS at the time), which produced the halftime show, faced a torrent of criticism and a $550,000 Federal Communications Commission fine.

Jackson and Timberlake both said the incident was truly a malfunction ― that Timberlake was only meant to rip away the leather on Jackson’s bustier to reveal red lace, but instead ripped away everything, leaving her breast exposed to over 100 million Super Bowl fans.

Moonves, however, was convinced it wasn’t a malfunction, but rather an intentional bid to stir up controversy. Moonves has been open about the fact that the incident caused him embarrassment, and he told sources who spoke to me that Jackson, in his mind, was not sufficiently repentant.

Moonves is seen in Beverly Hills, California, in May 2017.
 
Moonves is seen in Beverly Hills, California, in May 2017.  (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)

Moonves banned Jackson and Timberlake from the 2004 Grammys broadcast airing on CBS the week after the Super Bowl. But Timberlake was allowed to perform after he tearfully apologized for the incident, according to conversations Moonves had with my sources.

The CBS chief executive, according to sources who spoke to me, was furious that Jackson didn’t make a similarly contrite apology to him. The fallout from the incident inflicted significant damage on Jackson’s career ― which until that point had produced 10 No. 1 hits ― and still reverberates to this day.

Moonves ordered Viacom properties VH1 and MTV, and all Viacom-owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s songs and music videos. The move had a huge impact on sales of her album “Damita Jo,” which was released in March 2004, just a month after the Super Bowl.

A major point of controversy, particularly among Jackson’s black fans, was that the reaction to the wardrobe malfunction fell solely on Jackson’s shoulders, even though Timberlake was the one who actually pulled off the fabric to reveal her breast. While Jackson’s career was significantly damaged, Timberlake’s flourished. CBS insiders who spoke to me felt strongly that Moonves played a large part in how Jackson was perceived by the public.

A spokesperson for CBS declined to comment for this story.

Seven years after the 2004 incident, Moonves told several sources he was furious when he found out Jackson had signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster for her book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself. Simon & Schuster is owned by Viacom.

“How the fuck did she slip through?” Moonves asked while recounting the story to a source who spoke to me. He told another source that heads were going to roll as a result of the deal.

It’s not clear whether Moonves ever actually took action against anyone who gave Jackson the book deal, but his tone when he spoke about Jackson was so aggressive, one source said they couldn’t speak to me on the record because “I’m not interested in having that man following me to the grave and trying to screw me over the whole time.”

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5b919b8ce4b0511db3e0a269

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I tried to click on the article in the news section on Google and it's gone. Whatever he seems to be an unlikable person, In Hollywood you're not supposed to carry grudges, its all business....now let's get back to those sexual misconduct allegations, he's mad over a breast for less than a few seconds, but people need to feel like they can speak, and from what I read they do not feel that way with him

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5 minutes ago, John.... said:

I tried to click on the article in the news section on Google and it's gone. Whatever he seems to be an unlikable person, In Hollywood you're not supposed to carry grudges, its all business....now let's get back to those sexual misconduct allegations, he's mad over a breast for less than a few seconds, but people need to feel like they can speak, and from what I read they do not feel that way with him

That's what happens when entertainers let one company buy up over 70% of radio unfortunately

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15 minutes ago, EphraimAdamz said:

That's what happens when entertainers let one company buy up over 70% of radio unfortunately

aint that sum shit though :filenails: 

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and I dont think it's about ruining someone's career, that's just collateral damage, the real deal I believe was she didnt' bow down to the White man and keep on crying and begging and apologizing, I see this shit all the time even at my level of work, they (White folks) feel some strange need to break you, that's what this was about, break a bitch,  make her see her place in this shit, and thankfully Janet is strong,  she's continuing her career, albeit not as chart topping as it once was, but most artists at this stage in Janet's career dont see chart success in this time, it's all these youngins....BUT back to one point made here, they, as I defined, get really fucking pissed off when they can't break you, when you don't "coon"  for them, they get mad as fuck, let you even have something to say about it, and they mad as fuck...that's what I know from what I have seen and experienced

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To think all these years I had no idea it was basically ONE specific individual who was behind Janet's career faltering. I always thought it was juss a domino effect of followers who were tryna follow suit and jump the popular bandwagon of the Janet hate train. I must say, it may have took a major hit in Janet's career...but the fact that she didn't BOW DOWN and kiss the feet of what appears to be some high and mighty "I'm superior" privileged ass man.. is what makes me love her even more. She was not about to play that game with ANYBODY. Look at how Janet came out of that dark dark tunnel that she was in for years. She endured ALOT! Im so thankful she has earned the publics respect back cus it was a scary situation for her career for a long time. Major bumps along the road but she came out victorious

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Now these hoes wanna investigate and spill tea after over a decade. She already got her career back morons. Can't keep a strong black individual down forever 😎

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coming for Janet was some bullshit, plain and simple she had achieved more than most of these chicks out here now will ever dream to do in 2004 ...that said fuck them white folk and this dude getting his, this METOO movement aint no joke, they fired Matt Laurer, who also kinda came at Janet side eye during 20YO, but his ass is in so much shame he cant even walk out the door, they got him on tape talking some inappropriate shit.....let me quote Wendy "when you see something, say something"  

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1 hour ago, Utopia said:

we been knew

Yes WE as fans did but I think the gem pop doesn't get it.. It's good to finally get the real story in the public discord. 

The racism part comes into play  because Timberlake exposed the Nip! From a simplistic standpoint she was a victim... Imagine if a rapper exposed Arianna Grande nip during her performance ... Who would actually take the blame?!??! 🤔 

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3 hours ago, Utopia said:

we been knew

I've never seen this man's name mentioned on THIS board unless I overlooked something. I would think if everyone knew, this would have been name big in discussion on this board 

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He succeeded(up until 2013).  But he forgot that her impact and influence is boundless.  After all those years where she was pretty much blacklisted, her influence on the younger artist jumped out..starting in 2013 where you started seeing articles about her older albums influencing newer generations.  And after that, it was a wrap (see 2018).

 

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11 hours ago, EphraimAdamz said:

That's what happens when entertainers let one company buy up over 70% of radio unfortunately

side bar... were you at TRL?

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7 hours ago, janetDAYZ said:

I've never seen this man's name mentioned on THIS board unless I overlooked something. I would think if everyone knew, this would have been name big in discussion on this board 

We didn’t know who but We’ve knew Viacom had control over most radio and CBS 

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2 hours ago, vibeology said:

Why is all this stuff coming out now? Though we knew...seems odd.

Bc Janet’s doing the super bowl :shifty: Live on CBS

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I, Tituba ....did not need any confirmation on a white man making it his business to destroy a powerful woman of color...I am proof of that. Fuck him and his descendants.

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4 hours ago, Game For Now said:

Bc Janet’s doing the super bowl :shifty: Live on CBS

I’ve been saying this for months! I feel it in my bones....tho still I’m prolly wrong but fuk it

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18 minutes ago, Dal said:

I’ve been saying this for months! I feel it in my bones....tho still I’m prolly wrong but fuk it

Lmao 🛑

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13 hours ago, hotboy06 said:

He succeeded(up until 2013).  But he forgot that her impact and influence is boundless.  After all those years where she was pretty much blacklisted, her influence on the younger artist jumped out..starting in 2013 where you started seeing articles about her older albums influencing newer generations.  And after that, it was a wrap (see 2018).

 

she went away long enough for people to miss her

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11 hours ago, Game For Now said:

Bc Janet’s doing the super bowl :shifty: Live on CBS

People keep saying this 😂 I would be on the floor if this happens

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14 hours ago, Game For Now said:

Bc Janet’s doing the super bowl :shifty: Live on CBS

well according to Janet there was a conversation for this years :lol: 

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