CBS CEO Les Moonves worked to torpedo Janet Jackson’s career because she wasn’t apologetic enough over her infamous Super Bowl nip-slip, according to a new report.
The scandal-scarred entertainment exec had it out for Jackson ever since 2004, when Justin Timberlake exposed her breast to some 100 million fans in a supposed wardrobe malfunction during the half-time show.
Moonves was embarrassed by the debacle – which lasted nine-sixteenths of a second – and punished the two performers by banning them from the CBS-hosted Grammys the next month, sources told the Huffington Post.
Timberlake was allowed to perform after tearfully apologizing – but Jackson wasn’t nearly as contrite, fueling Moonves’ animosity toward her.
He ordered VH1 and MTV – subsidiaries of CBS’s then-parent company Viacom – to stop playing Jackson’s songs and music videos, which had a lasting impact on her album “Damita Jo,” released in March 2004, according to the report.
At the time, Moonves was Viacom’s co-president and co-chief operating officer and chairman of CBS.
CBS sources told the Huffington Post they believed Moonves was directly responsible for how Jackson, whose career took a beating after the Super Bowl debacle, was perceived by the public.
Moonves – the latest bigwig to be accused of sexually harassing several women – also hit the roof when he learned Jackson nabbed a book deal with Simon & Schuster for “True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself.”
The publisher was owned in 2004 by Viacom. A year later, Viacom and CBS split into separate public companies, with Simon & Schuster becoming a unit of CBS.
“How the f—k did she slip through?” a furious Moonves asked, according to a source. He vowed to another source that heads would roll as a result but it’s unclear if any ever did.
Many sources refused to speak on the record for the Huffington Post story, fearing retribution from Moonves, who could walk away from the network with a $100 million exit package.
“I’m not interested in having that man following me to the grave and trying to screw me over the whole time,” the source said.