Nipplegate - Aftermath

On February 4, Terri Carlin launched a class action lawsuit against Jackson and Timberlake on behalf of "all American citizens who watched the outrageous conduct". The lawsuit alleged that the halftime show contained "sexually explicit acts solely designed to garner publicity and, ultimately, to increase profits for themselves". The lawsuit sought "maximum" punitive and compensatory damages from the performers. Ms. Carlin would later drop the lawsuit.

The incident triggered a rash of fines that the Federal Communications Commission levied soon after the Super Bowl. Clear Channel Communications removed shock jock Howard Stern from several of its large-market radio stations within a month of the incident, citing the raunchy content of Stern's show. The FCC fined Clear Channel after a Florida-based radio show featuring Bubba the Love Sponge was charged with indecency. In September 2004, the FCC fined Viacom the maximum $27,500 penalty for each of the twenty CBS-owned television stations (including satellites of WFRV, WCCO, and KUTV, note that current CBS O&O KOVR in Sacramento at the time was owned by Sinclair) for a total $550,000 fine, the largest ever against a television broadcaster at that time.

The United States House of Representatives passed a bill, soon after the Super Bowl, to raise the maximum FCC fine penalty from USD $27,500 to $500,000 per violation. The United States Senate voted to increase it to $275,000 per incident, with a cap of $3 million per day. The two houses reconciled the differences in fine levels, settling for a fine of $375,000 per violation in 2005.

In November 2004, Viacom paid out $3.5 million to settle outstanding indecency complaints, but still refused that it was challenging the $550,000 penalty related to the incident. As a result of the incident, some networks established regulations requiring time delays of as much as five minutes for live broadcasts such as awards shows and sporting events.





The Incident

The Aftermath


Other Resources


Nipplegate is part of the Siteclopedia Network of travel and edutainment websites. Media requests and feedback are always welcome - Contact Us