All these years later, we still don’t know who’s really to blame for Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during her 2004 Super Bowl Halftime show performance with Justin Timberlake.
Nearly two decades after the infamous incident, FX and Hulu have released their New York Times documentary about the performance and what went wrong. Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson reexamines Jackson and Timberlake’s Super Bowl half time show performance, which ended with Janet’s nipple being exposed by Justin on live television.
According to Senior VP of MTV Salli Frattini, who was interviewed for the special, Jackson and her stylist Wayne Scot Lukas went rogue after the costumes had been approved, spending money on new fabric and a starburst nipple cover at the last minute. She went on to allege that when Justin arrived at the stadium the day of the performance, he was whisked to her dressing room to speak with Janet and Wayne for “a small conversation that lasted minutes,” without any producers around.
“My instincts told me that there was a private conversation between wardrobe stylists and artists where someone thought this would be a good idea and it backfired,” she said.
Following that blame being put on Jackson and her stylist, Lukas is speaking out to give his side of the story.
While he didn’t appear in the doc, he told Access Hollywood he was asked to participate and declined because Janet asked him to. He also claimed to have recently received death threats, which is why he decided to speak with the publication and share his side of the story.
“I was a work for hire, I was hired to do a job and I did exactly what I was supposed to do,” he explained. “If I work with someone who’s a dancer, you have to be able to dance in a wardrobe and it has to never fall apart. I stand 100% by my story that I did exactly what I was supposed to do, what I was hired for and if I ever hurt my friend, I wouldn’t have worked with Janet for six years after the Super Bowl. I would have been fired that day.”
And as for what went wrong, he placed the blame on producers for not cutting the cameras to black before her breast was shown on television.
“You were never supposed to see a movement where a breast was out, a body part was out. It was never supposed to be lingering on something that they say was this terrible thing for such a long time,” he continued. “They were supposed to cut to black. You were supposed to get the idea of, ‘I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song,’ nobody was supposed to be naked. And I’ve never said that. Somebody didn’t push the button. Somebody didn’t protect my friend.”
On the other hand, Frattini adamantly denied this account, telling Access, “This is a false statement as per all of my comments previously written and now broadcast.”
Wayne also talked about his relationship with Justin Timberlake, saying they “haven’t spoken since he blamed me” for everything that went down.
“[He] came off the stage and said, ‘it’s just a little wardrobe malfunction, we all want to give you something to think about.’ He coined that phrase,” said the stylist, “And when he said that I thought ‘friendship over.’”
“Wardrobe malfunction? I don’t malfunction,” he continued. “I was a professional stylist, $10,000 a day back then. I can’t fail.”
Lukas says that he has, however, spoken with Jackson since the documentary aired and she allegedly told him not to speak with the press.
“Lukas don’t talk to anybody, just let this go. We’re gonna handle this in January, I’m going to talk about this in January,” he said, likely referring to her upcoming A&E documentary, Janet.
Clearly, this whole situation is far from over.