The Chili Peppers, known for performing in all stages of undress, took the stage beside headliner Bruno Mars in their usual fashion: topless. And despite the 49-degree temperatures inside Met Life Stadium at kickoff, the performance left plenty of folks hot around the collar. Following the broadcast, the FCC recieved more than fifty complaints from folks – many aimed at the Pepper’s exposed breasts. Going tit for tat with Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show at Super Bowl 38 here in Houston ten years earlier, viewers called foul when the Peppers were permitted to perform shirtless for nearly ten minutes on national TV, while Jackson was skewered for exposing a breast for less than a second back in 2004.
“Men not wearing a shirt is a lot different than a woman exposing herself,” Houstonian Megan McCurley said when we asked her thoughts on the issue.
“Men can go topless and women can’t,” John Lugowski agreed.
The complaints allege sexism. “I found it indecent that I had to see the nipples of Anthony Keidis and Flea on the halftime show. Both men and women should have to wear shirts,” one complainant wrote. “How is it okay for male performers to perform shirtless showing both nipples, yet you sanction nipple showing by Janet Jackson? that’s sexism!” wrote another. And while the FCC hasn’t acted in response to the complaints yet, they say they have cracked down since Janet’s errantly exposed areola hit the air back in 2004.
The rest of us are just impressed that a bunch of guys in their fifties can still take it off for millions of fans and keep everyone on their feet.