She opened up about the incident in her new Janet documentary, which premiered this weekend on Lifetime and A&E. According to Variety, after the performance with Timberlake—which the media named “Nipplegate”—Jackson’s career took a dive while Timberlake only got more popular.
She told Timberlake at the time not to issue a statement regarding the event. “We talked once,” Jackson told her brother Randy in the doc. ‘And he said, ‘I don’t know if I should come out and make a statement.’… And I said, ‘Listen… I don’t want any drama for you. They’re aiming all of this at me.’ So I said, ‘If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything.’”
However, Timberlake didn’t listen to Jackson. Though her invite to the Grammy Awards was retracted, his wasn’t—and not only did he perform and win a number of awards, he also used his award speech to apologize about the Super Bowl incident. Following their performance, the FCC also fined the Super Bowl, and Jackson’s music was prohibited from playing on multiple channels and radio stations due to Viacom—CBS’ parent company—blacklisting her.
Since then, some have said that the incident was a publicity stunt. Jackson’s brother, Tito shut down those rumors, saying in the documentary, “She didn’t do that. That wasn’t something done on purpose. Janet is not like that.”
Timberlake later invited her to perform with him at the 2018 Super Bowl, but she said no.