It’s a mixed day for broadcasters at the U.S. Supreme Court — but with a limited win for CBS in the case of Janet Jackson’s famously exposed nipple in her performance with Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Super Bowl. Justices upheld a lower court ruling that overturned the FCC‘s $550,000 fine against the network for violating rules that limit indecent broadcasts. It was unclear at the time whether the FCC’s ban on fleeting expletives also applied to fleeting images, Chief Justice John Roberts said — adding, though, that Jackson and Timberlake “strained the credulity of the public by terming the episode a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.” Since then, the FCC has clarified its rules somewhat. “It is now clear that the brevity of an indecent broadcast—be it word or image—cannot immunize it from FCC censure,” he says. As a result, “any future ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ will not be protected” on the same grounds.
The 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled for a second time that the FCC didn’t have the right to fine CBS Corp for airing Janet Jackson’s famed wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004. The commission fined the network $550,000 for “fleeting” indecency after it showed Jackson’s bared breast for less than a second as part of her outfit was torn away by co-performer Justin Timberlake during the performance, which was seen by 89.9 million viewers. CBS appealed the fine, and the appeals court voided it in 2008. The case went to the Supreme Court, which vacated the judgment and sent it back to the appeals court. Today’s ruling was made on the same grounds as the first one: that the FCC didn’t give broadcasters fair warning about a shift in indecency enforcement. ”While we are disappointed by the court of appeals decision, we note that the court overturned the FCC’s 2006 forfeiture order on narrow procedural grounds,” the FCC said in a statement. “In the meantime, the FCC will continue to use all of the authority at its disposal to ensure that the nation’s broadcasters fulfill the public interest responsibilities that accompany their use of the public airwaves.”
The late Elizabeth Taylor was fondly remembered during a tribute Thursday night at the ultra-glamorous annual amFAR Cinema Against AIDS event (now in its 18th year) at Hotel Du Cap. The event co-chaired by Kenneth Cole and Harvey Weinstein broke all records, bringing in a haul of more than $10 million after an auction that also saw record prices. In clips from movies like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, along with footage from her work for the organization in which she was the founding international chairman and host of the first event in 1993 Cole saluted Taylor as someone who “spoke up when others wouldn’t and said things when others can’t. I hope this will always be part of her legacy.” Weinstein added, “It was an honor to work beside her and it was an honor to watch her movies.”
Continuing the Taylor theme of the evening, two “Elizabeth” items went for big bucks in the annual auction that is always a part of this glitzy dinner, thrown near the end of each Cannes Film Festival since ’93. A limited-edition Herb Ritts photo of Taylor taken in Malibu in 1991 fetched a whopping $150,000, while an Andy Warhol dated lithograph of Liz circa 1964 fetched $400,000.
Among the stars taking part in the evening and auction were Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Freida Pinto, Kanye West, Rosario Dawson, Naomi Campbell, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Patrick Dempsey, Milla Jovovich (who opened the proceedings with a sultry “I Wanna Be Loved By You”), Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn and Sean Penn. Penn, bringing up the rear, got big laughs demanding women abstain from sex unless their men cough up $10,000 apiece in order to break the record amount for the fundraiser. Twenty-one of them did just that. Boy George performed a couple of songs, too. Among those in the crowd were three Cannes jury members including president Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman (who also participated in the auction) and Jude Law, along with Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst, who looked happy not to have Lars von Trier as her date.
I don’t understand why any movie studio today would announce a production deal with Janet Jackson’s jdj Entertainment “to select, develop, and produce a motion picture” since she has zero following among filmgoers. Because her last name is Jackson? Because she’s a favorite of Tyler Perry? (His movies with her make the same money as his movies without her.) Here’s an idea: why doesn’t Lionsgate just turn the entire studio over to Tyler since he’s calling all the shots these days. I figure Perry couldn’t do any worse than Joe Drake.