A new Huffington Post report alleges that CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves purposefully tried to stifle Janet Jackson's career after the incident at the 2004 Super Bowl. During the halftime show, which, like the rest of the game, aired on CBS, Justin Timberlake accidentally ripped off a part of Jackson's dress, exposing her breast. In the aftermath of the incident, both parties were banned from the 2004 Grammys. Timberlake was eventually allowed to perform after he apologized to Moonves, who perceived the event as a purposeful publicity stunt. Moonves reportedly did not receive a matching apology from Jackson, and has since harbored a grudge.
According to the outlet, Moonves instructed VH1, MTV, and Viacom-owned radio stations to stop playing Jackson's music (Viacom was CBS's parent company at the time). This, plus the public backlash to the incident, caused her 2004 album Damita Jo to have significantly lower sales than her previous work, according to Vox.
Still, Moonves' anger apparently lingered for years. Sources told Huffington Post that Moonves was livid when Jackson signed a book deal with CBS-owned Simon & Schuster. He apparently asked a source, "How the fuck did she slip through?" Jackson's book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself was published in December of 2011.
In July, Moonves was accused of sexual misconduct by six different women in a report published by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. In a statement, Moonves recognized that in the past he may have made some women "uncomfortable."
Reps for Jackson and Timberlake did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment. CBS declined to comment.