In 2004, Janet Jackson’s breast popped out during her Super Bowl halftime performance and it nearly ruined her career. In 2019, Adam Levine took his shirt off in the middle of his Super Bowl halftime performance, and it was...well, it happened. (Skip to 12 minutes in, if you must.)
Aside from the fact that Maroon 5 is pretty much the most listless band possible to book for the Super Bowl—after performers like Rihanna and Cardi B turned down the gig in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick—it seems slightly unfair that Levine gets to take his shirt off with presumably no future repercussions.
Meanwhile, when Jackson’s single nipple was exposed, she was pilloried in the tabloids. More chillingly, last year Huffpost reported that now-ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves tried to ruin Jackson’s career after the incident, apparently because she didn’t beg him for forgiveness afterward.
Moonves allegedly ordered Viacom properties, including VH1 and MTV, to stop playing her music and videos, and had all of Viacom’s radio stations follow suit. In 2004, this was essentially a death sentence, and though Jackson has managed to stay afloat (and will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year), it’s hard to know what her career might have looked like had she not been publicly shamed and vocationally kneecapped.
So, that is infuriating. Also infuriating: Adam Levine’s tattoo collection, which is far more disturbing than any woman’s errant nipple. They include what I can only presume are several Ed Hardy t-shirts he had burned onto his chest, and a giant “CALIFORNIA” inked across his stomach. Let’s take a closer look:
People are free to get the bad tattoos they wish, of course, but if you plan to showcase a tattoo that bad in the middle of the nation’s most-watched television event, expect me and the rest of the Internet to mock it relentlessly.