The singer, 37, started his performance with his new hit song “Filthy,” but segued into “Rock Your Body” — the same song he and Jackson, 51, sang during their Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.
While Timberlake sang the song solo this time, it didn’t escape people’s notice that the song was embedded into Super Bowl history — stemming from the fact that Timberlake attempted to rip Jackson’s corset but accidentally revealed her breast to a national audience at the time.
Twitter had shocked and indignant reactions, with #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay and #JusticeForJanet both trending.
— DeeVa (@soylaunicadeyna) February 5, 2018
— unpackedsparkle (@unpackedsparkle) February 5, 2018
Just wanted to remind everyone how absurd it is that Janet Jackson was forever banned from super bowl performances and JT wasn’t
— Taylor Schumann (@taylorsschumann) February 5, 2018
Empire actor Jussie Smollett tweeted his support for Jackson on Twitter.
— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) February 4, 2018
Laverne Cox also tweeted her support, writing, “Living for #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay. we love you Miss Jackson. It’s all for you. When we think of you nothing else seems to matter. Get us all together again in this Rhythm Nation.”
Living for #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay. we love you Miss Jackson. It’s all for you. When we think of you nothing else seems to matter. Get us all together again in this Rhythm Nation. https://t.co/jJkXqSch3c
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) February 4, 2018
— Savannah Rochelle (@im_sav_97) February 5, 2018
I see he ain’t perform “Rock Ya Body” #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay
— Tremayne Woodard (@TreyNicole) February 5, 2018
I wonder if @jtimberlake understands how much of a dishonorable person he is. Left @JanetJackson to take all of the hits while he played innocent. Now he’s back on the superbowl stage? #SMH #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay #SuperBowl
— Duke Loves Rasslin (@DLovesRasslin) February 5, 2018
— JHW (@jharbweave) February 5, 2018
Fourteen years ago, Timberlake took the stage with Jackson to perform his hit “Rock Your Body.” Memorably, at the end of the sexy track’s closing lyrics — “I bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song” — the singer went to remove Jackson’s corset and accidentally exposed her bare breast.
Controversy ensued, Timberlake and Jackson issued apologies, and the Federal Communications Commission charged CBS, the network that broadcast the game that year, with a $550,000 indecency fine for the incident, dubbed “Nipplegate.”
Opening up about the incident in January, Timberlake claimed that the pair had already made amends for the past.
“I stumbled through it, to be quite honest,” Timberlake, now 37, told Beats 1‘s Zane Lowe of moving past the drama. “I had my wires crossed and it’s just something that you have to look back on and go like, ‘Okay, well you know, you can’t change what’s happened but you can move forward and learn from it.’”
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After the controversy, Timberlake said he “absolutely” took time with Jackson to make amends, adding: “I don’t know that a lot of people know that. I don’t think it’s my job to do that because you value the relationships that you do have with people.”
Ahead of Timberlake’s upcoming performance, the “Rhythm Nation” singer’s family members told the New York Post that if the Man of the Woods singer really wanted to put the past behind him, he’d invite Jackson to share the stage with him.
“If he’s such a gentleman, he’d make sure Janet is there,” Janet’s father Joseph Jackson said.
“Justin’s solo career took off after that and Janet was blackballed,” added another unidentified family member. “He says they are good, but let’s see him prove it and bring her out.”
Jackson released a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Saturday, saying she would not be performing at the Super Bowl despite ongoing fan speculation.
She lated released the statement on Instagram.
“To put to rest any speculation or rumors as to whether I will be performing at the Super Bowl tomorrow: I will not,” Jackson said.
She added, “Thank you for your support and I do look forward to seeing you all very soon.”