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Janet Jackson takes responsibility for breast-baring

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Singer Janet Jackson took all responsibility for the breast-baring incident that occurred during the Super Bowl halftime show (February 4)
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Janet Jackson

NEW YORK (AP) -- Janet Jackson issued another apology for her surprise breast-baring during the Super Bowl halftime show and took full responsibility for the fiasco, in a videotape that was released to media late Tuesday.

"I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention," she said. "My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was actually made after the final rehearsal. MTV, CBS, the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end."

The pop star had previously apologized Monday night in a written statement.

Variously referred to as "Nipplegate" and the "bra-ha-ha," the one-second Super Bowl flashing continued to cause reverberations Tuesday.

MTV boss Tom Freston, whose network produced the halftime show, bitterly complained about being "punk'd" by Janet Jackson, and Federal Communications Commission chief Michael Powell said the entire show angered him.

At the end of their duet Sunday, singer Justin Timberlake snatched off part of Jackson's bustier on stage, revealing a breast clad only in a sun-shaped "nipple shield" to some 89 million viewers.

Jackson's spokeswoman, Jennifer Holiner, said a red lace garment was supposed to remain when Timberlake tore off the outer covering. But widespread questions remained about the intent.

CBS faces an FCC investigation into whether the Super Bowl show violated decency laws, with potential fines of up to $27,500. If applied to each CBS station, the fine could reach into the millions.

Powell said Tuesday that the FCC had begun a formal investigation, and a letter was sent to CBS. "It's well under way," he said.

All five commissioners expressed concern about the Super Bowl broadcast, but Powell declined to speculate on what the FCC would do once the investigation was finished. "I'm not going to try to prejudge the outcome," he said.

Powell said he wasn't happy with the halftime show in general, which featured performances by Nelly and Kid Rock before the bump-and-grind duet with Jackson and Timberlake. Nelly gestured toward his crotch, while Kid Rock draped himself in an American flag-designed poncho.

"I think everybody's focusing on the finale, but a lot of what we've heard in terms of complaints and the breadth of the investigation is a little broader than just that incident," Powell said on ABC's "Good Morning America. "I personally was offended by the entire production."

Freston, chairman of MTV Networks, said he welcomed the FCC's investigation, which he said will prove that the show's producers and broadcasters had no prior knowledge of the stunt.

"We were really ripped off. We were punk'd by Janet Jackson," Freston said, referring to MTV's reality show that makes celebrities the butt of practical jokes.

Judy McGrath, MTV Networks group president, wouldn't comment on whether Jackson's stunt would have repercussions for her in the future on MTV. The singer, who has a new album out next month, was named MTV's first "icon" in 2001.

Also Tuesday, film director Spike Lee criticized Jackson's act as a "new low" of attention-getting antics by entertainers.

There has been a decline in artistry, Lee said while speaking at Kent State University's regional campus in Stark County, Ohio.

Lee said it's not enough to be a good singer, and that entertainers "have to do something extra" -- such as the openmouthed kiss Madonna gave Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during the MTV Video Music Awards in August.

"What's gonna be next? It's getting crazy, and it's all down to money. Money and fame," said Lee, the director of "Malcolm X" and "Do the Right Thing." "Somehow the whole value system has been upended."

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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