An Open Letter to Justin Timberlake Regarding His Upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show Appearance

Written by PTC | Published January 31, 2018

Dear Justin, It’s been a long time – almost 14 years – since you, the Super Bowl and the Parents Television Council were all mentioned in the same news stories. Much has changed during that time. You became a husband and a father. You became a generous philanthropist, both on the golf course and in the classroom. You’ve become an advocate for worthy causes. And you’ve brought us joy through your music and your film performances. But while much has changed, much remains the same. The fallout of your performance during Super Bowl XXXVIII has left an indelible mark. You really threw us – and millions of parents who were watching with their kids. The now-infamous wardrobe malfunction was the biggest news story for weeks, even at a time when the nation had launched into war in Iraq. Congressional hearings and Supreme Court cases followed. Standards for indecency on the public airwaves are still hotly debated today. As we approach this Sunday’s Super Bowl LII and its halftime show during which you’ll be performing, we ask you to keep the halftime show friendly and safe for the children watching, and who may be hoping to emulate you one day. The media has been asking you about this very thing – and we are heartened by your response that the events of 2004 are not going to happen in 2018:

"It's just one of those things where you go, like, 'Yeah, what do you want me to say?' We're not going to do that again.”

"I stumbled through it. To be quite honest, I had my wires crossed. It's just something that you have to look back on and go, 'OK, well, you can't change what's happened, but you can move forward and learn from it."

Our children are confronted with enough harmful and explicit content in today’s entertainment media – content that sexualizes our daughters; graphic violence that connotes acceptance as an answer to life’s conflicts; glamorization of underage drinking and drug use; normalization of children using harsh profanity; and a litany of other messaging that runs counter to the values most parents work to instill in their kids. The Super Bowl, and particularly its halftime show, should be the hallmark of entertainment that’s both appealing and a safe place for the entire family. Thank you for considering our urgent appeal for a positive, uplifting and entertaining halftime show on Sunday. Because our Children are Watching. Break a leg. Sincerely, The Parents Television Council

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