Music Industry

Published on February 24th, 2019 | by Alan Cross

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You knew this was coming: America freaked out over Adam Levine’s nipples

Nothing frightens or outrages America more than the site of a nipple. Prime time TV can depict all manner of gun violence and death, but if anyone catches a glance at nip, all helL breaks loose.

The biggest issue, of course, was Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl when a left nip was shown on TV for less than half a second. If you didn’t know differently, you’d think someone had executed a puppy.

The Federal Communications Commission fielded more than 500,000 complaints and ended up levying a fine of $550,000. And while Justin Timberlake’s career was unaffected, Janet saw hers derailed for the next few years. Sexist? Double standard? You bet.

But this half second nip slip turned out to be one of the most important events in the history of tech.

Jawed Karim, a software engineer at PayPal, was so frustrated that he couldn’t find footage of the incident online that he and some friends created a platform for posting and sharing video online. They called their creation YouTube and sold it to Google for $1.65 billion in 2005.

The Super Bowl had been nipple-free until this year when Adam Levine decided to tak off his shirt as part of Maroon 5’s performance. If you were one of the many who said “Gee, if Janet Jackson can’t show her nipples, why can Levine?”

According to The Hollywood Report, more than 50 people made formal complaints to the FCC. Some, however, were in favour of seeking justice for Janet. Here are few examples.

Subject: Gender Equality in Super Bowl Halftime Shows
Location: Columbus, Ohio 
Message: In 2004, CBS was fined $550,000 for airing what has become known as the “Nipple Slip”. In 2019, CBS aired Adam Levine removing his shirt exposing both nipples. This must be dealt with in a similar manner, or the double standard must be made public.

Subject: Sexual simulation; Nipple exposure
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana 
Message: I witnessed the exposure of nipples during the halftime show of the super bowl. My children were watching. If I wanted them exposed to the trash I would let them go hog wild on pornhub. Adam Levine and the NFL need to be punished for such indecency.

Subject: Superbowl Nipple, half naked, inappropriate
Location: Fremont, California
Message: Hi I am writing because I am upset about the half naked stripper on stage of the halftime show. That was unnecessary and out of line.

If Janet’s nipple wrought YouTube, what might we get from Levine’s shirt-doffing? Probably nothing, but you never know.. And I wonder if Google AdSense will target the featured image of this post as “offensive?”




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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3 Responses to You knew this was coming: America freaked out over Adam Levine’s nipples

  1. Diesel says:

    Sally Struthers (yes, Gloria Bunker) famously said “If a man is pictured chopping off a woman’s breast, it only gets an R rating; but if, God forbid, a man is pictured kissing a woman’s breast, it gets an X rating. Why is violence more acceptable than tenderness?”. Ridiculous leftover Victorian standards governing shame of the human body. Jeez, we’re all born naked…I’m not advocating for mass nudity in the streets but….

  2. Mike Benninger says:

    The weird dichotomy that is America is endlessly baffling, they obsess over the trivial but the important just walks right by….

    Gun violence, national debt, homelessness, abortion rights, voting rights, minority rights and opiod use are massive issues but they instead talk abour Adam Levine’s nipples….

  3. Eric Skaggs says:

    I gave Chad Hurley the entire idea for YouTube from domain name to exit strategy and everything in between in exchange for a promise from him to me of one percent of the now $100 billion company or $1 billion.

    Please read “I Invented YouTube : The Real YouTube Story” by Eric Skaggs.

    And if you can help me get the $1 billion I was promised, I will give you $100 million.

    Does that sound fair?

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