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Over 200,000 complaints to FCC

February 7, 2004 - 11:46AM

Upset television viewers have filed more than 200,000 complaints about Janet Jackson's breast-baring performance at the US Superbowl, a record for America's Federal Communication Commission, officials said today.

Gripes over the flash of Jackson's breast last Sunday easily eclipsed the FCC's previous record - 80,000 complaints that came after television actress Nicole Richie used a curse word on the 2003 Billboard Music Awards, the agency said.

"The vast majority express outrage that this occurred during a family program, when many children were in the viewing audience," FCC consumer and information chief Dane Snowden said in a statement.

The furor was touched off when pop star Justin Timberlake tore off part of Jackson's black leather bustier while the two were singing a duet, exposing her right breast.

The halftime show was carried by Viacom unit CBS and staged by sister network MTV. It has intensified calls for the government to take a tougher stance on indecency.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell has vowed a thorough investigation of the incident, calling it a "classless, crass and deplorable stunt".

The Parents Television Council, a non-profit watchdog group, said it also has been receiving complaints at a record pace, more than 24,000 so far.

"We are getting them like crazy," said spokeswoman Katie Wright.

Both performers have apologised, and Jackson said the performance went further than expected.

Timberlake blamed the exposure on a "wardrobe malfunction".

CBS has already said it would use an "enhanced delay" on its February 8 broadcast of the Grammy Awards so it can censor both audio and video as needed, and Walt Disney Co's ABC network also said it will use a delay on its February 29 broadcast of the Academy Awards.


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