Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's Infamous Super Bowl Halftime Show to Be Examined in New Doc

FX and Hulu's doc, 'Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson' premieres on Nov. 19.

FX and Hulu are taking a trip down memory lane to investigate the scandal behind Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. The documentary, Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, will premiere on Nov. 19 simultaneously on the cable network and streamer.

According to a press release, the film features rare footage and interviews with people who were behind the controls that night in Houston -- including NFL and MTV executives -- to reconstruct the moment when Timberlake briefly exposed Jackson's breast to millions of viewers, shaking the country and shaping pop culture for decades to follow. While Jackson's career never reached the heights it had before, Timberlake's rise in stardom never faltered.

With new reporting by The New York Times, as well as insights from music industry insiders, cultural critics and members of the Jackson family, the doc will examine the racial and cultural currents that collided on the Super Bowl stage and explore how the incident impacted one of the most successful pop musicians in history. 

Jodi Gomes helmed and produced the documentary, which follows on the success of The New York Times Presents' explosive project, Controlling Britney Spears, the follow-up film to Framing Britney Spears

Back in February, Timberlake released a public apology to Jackson and Britney Spears, after receiving backlash following the premiere of Framing Britney Spears. Throughout the unauthorized project, the footage shows Spears being put in the hot seat and questioned about her role in their highly publicized breakup, while Timberlake was seemingly idolized. 

In his public apology -- which was directed toward both Jackson and Spears -- Timberlake shared, "I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism."

"I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed," he wrote. "I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from."

Jackson has not publicly responded to the Man of the Woods singer's apology, but the R&B icon did thank her fans for making her 1986 album, Control, top the charts again in response. 

"I was at home just the other day by myself and I began to cry. I was crying because I was so thankful for all that God has blessed me with," she said. "All that he has given me and I'm so thankful for him being in my life, and I'm so thankful for all of you being in my life."

In September, the songstress shared a look at her upcoming, authorized two-part biographical documentary, Janet, coming in January.

The trailer features concert footage, behind-the-scenes looks at Jackson's life, old home movies, and interviews with some of her friends and contemporaries, including Mariah Carey and Paula Abdul, who remark on Jackson's impact and personality.

"This is my story told by me, not through someone else’s eyes," the songstress shares in voice over. "This is the truth. Take it or leave it, love it or hate it. This is me."

Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson -- which has been in the works for five years now -- follows the singer's career and legacy today, following the death of her father, and looks back at her rise to fame and some high-profile setbacks and hurdles she's had to overcome. The four-hour documentary will premiere on FX and Hulu on Nov. 19.

The two-part documentary Janet, produced by Lifetime and A&E, is set to premiere in January 2022 -- commemorating the 40th anniversary of her first album.

Want to watch Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson when it premieres on Nov. 19? Sign up to watch FX on Hulu. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.) 

Sign Up