Fourteen years ago, Justin Timberlake became one half of the Super Bowl XXXVIII scandal that made the words “Nipplegate” and “wardrobe malfunction” part of the lexicon. The other half of that scandal, and the person who had to weather the brunt of the criticism and fallout afterward, was Janet Jackson. Now, as our present further transforms into a dense ball of hot cultural lead, Variety reports that Timberlake has signed on as a client with Jackson’s publicist — which makes you wonder who on JT’s team will be responsible for explaining dramatic irony. According to the trade, the founder of Timberlake’s new representative firm actually first advised him in the wake of that Super Bowl performance, when the singer’s strategy seemed to be “do the least” for his stage partner as she got dragged in the press. (Clearly the counsel was effective, since Timberlake skated through the whole affair pretty cleanly.) It’s been more than a decade, and we won’t assume that either of the entertainers keep the “malfunction” front of mind anymore, but the internet never forgets.
Justin Timberlake. Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for EIF