Trick or Teat? Nope, Just A Publicity Feat

At 9:01 p.m. on Sunday night, Virgin Records issued a press release via PR Newswire with this headline: "Hot Off an Incredible Super Bowl Performance New Janet Jackson Song 'Just a Little While' Spreads Like Wildfire." It went on to hype her new album, DAMITA JO, which--just coincidentally--will be released March 30.

Need anything more be said about Janet Jackson and her "wardrobe malfunction?"

Well, apparently so.

MTV (which produced the halftime show for sister Viacom company CBS), the network made famous by showing the most titillating, misogynist, crude, and vulgar music videos it can sneak past the FCC-, was, well, shocked, saying: "The tearing of Janet Jackson's costume was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional, and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance. MTV regrets this incident occurred and we apologize to anyone who was offended by it."

CBS, the network that picked up the Victoria's Secret "fashion show" when ABC dumped it and routinely shows dead nude women on its hit "CSI," was, well, aghast: "We attended all rehearsals throughout the week and there was no indication that any such thing would happen," CBS said. "The moment did not conform to CBS broadcast standards, and we would like to apologize to anyone who was offended."



The NFL, which is home to the single most brutal sport on the planet and which encourages its teams to field busty cheerleaders who look like their day jobs involve g-strings and brass poles, declared: "We were extremely disappointed by elements of the MTV-produced halftime show. They were totally inconsistent with assurances our office was given about the show. It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime."

Even FCC Chairman Michael Powell got in on the fun, calling it "a classless, crass, and deplorable stunt."

Yes, that's all it was--a publicity stunt to help jumpstart interest in Jackson's new album, perhaps divert attention from her notorious brother, and give everyone something to talk about other than the Carolina kicker who gave the Pats the ball on the 40-yard line.

In an earlier, simpler time, starlets seeking publicity shed their clothes for Playboy or turned up the air conditioning and produced a poster for college boys. If they were young, it was a way to help launch struggling careers. If they were older, it was a chance for one more season. At any rate, it got their names in the paper.

Think Fox had a problem with the Paris Hilton "sex tape" getting lots of press just as its stupid (but in the end, highly rated) "Paris Milks Arkansas" was about to air?

Wasn't it the clearest possible indicator of two careers in steep decline when 40-something Meg Ryan and 50-something Diane Keaton appeared nude in films last year? Madonna, who is rapidly becoming a has-been, was only trying to renew interest in her career five months ago when she kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.

It was a publicity stunt. Get over it. On balance I think I'd rather see a brief flash of Janet Jackson's right breast than a slow motion NFL compound fracture. But there's not a lot of ink in broken bones.

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