Supreme Court kills bid to fine CBS for “wardrobe malfunction”


Yesterday health care, today wardrobe malfunctions.

On Friday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the Federal Communications Commission’s request to reinstate a $550,000 fine against CBS for the Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show incident.

That ends the long, legal wrangling over a flash of nudity in front of 90 million television viewers during the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVIII win over the Panthers.

In November, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling that the fine was invalid, based on the FCC action was an undisclosed change of policy against “fleeting images.”

CBS said in a statement it was “gratified to finally put this episode behind us” and added that “at every major turn of this process, the lower courts have sided with us.”

They’ve also added delays to all live programming to prevent similar incidents.

Hard to believe it was just over eight years ago; a quaint, Twitter-less time. In fact, sitting in the press box at Reliant Stadium that night, I had no idea anything had happened until the post-game flurry of quote sheets began to fly and I was given an apology from CBS.

Then when a large group of weary journalists gathered for a post-deadline meal sponsored by the league, the loudest boos of the night came when a replay of the game we just covered was fast-forwarded through the fleeting image in question. Now that I think of it, it seems like yesterday.