After its release in February, the New York Times’ FX-Hulu documentary Framing Britney Spears forced audiences to acknowledge and consider their own accountability in the treatment of Britney Spears. Many people didn't realise their own subtle contributions to a culture built to uphold systems of misogyny. Soon, we could be revisiting history again with another performer: Janet Jackson.
During their duet, Timberlake pulled down Jackson’s bustier and exposed her breast — a move that ended up negatively affecting her career for years to come. Jackson effectively took the blame for the entire incident, even after she was made to issue a public apology, and The Federal Communications Commission fined CBS half a million dollars for its “indecency." The incident sparked discourse about double standards for women in the entertainment industry, how "inappropriate" broadcasting disproportionally affects women, and later, especially given Timberlake's involvement in both Spears and Jackson's careers, how easily we blame and punish women for the deeds of men around them.
Timberlake later offered a belated apology to Jackson and Spears after viewers, and the media, called him out for his behaviour. “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 on Instagram February 12. “Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again.”
Jackson will reportedly not be involved in the upcoming FX documentary, just as Spears wasn't involved in hers. Jackson, however, has been working on her own documentary for the 40th anniversary of her first album, 1982's Janet Jackson. The film, which she has been reportedly been working on for three years, will cover the biggest events of her life and career, including the passing of her father in 2018, as well as the 2004 Super Bowl.
Refinery29 reached out to Left/Right TV for confirmation and Jackson for comment.