The biggest complaint football fans may have had about Super Bowl LIII was the lack of scoring, but there was another thing that had people contacting the federal government to grumble about.
Adam Levine’s nipples.
Fifteen years after Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” Super Bowl fans still didn’t want to see nipples during the halftime show — on a man or woman — according to a list of complaints to the FCC that was released a month and a half after the game.
Fifty-five of the complaints that were released were just about the Maroon 5 frontman’s shirtless performance. There were also several complaints about a horror movie trailer that some parents thought was inappropriately timed.
Some objected because they didn’t want to see Levine’s bare chest, but most protested because of what they perceived as a double-standard.
Here are just some of the gripes issued to the FCC (spelling and grammar of the submissions have not been edited).
From San Antonio, Texas:
“It is unacceptable for Adam Levine to take his shirt off on television. Football should be family friendly and a man half naked is highly offensive.”
“I am insulted by the exposure of Adam Levine’s nipples during the Super Bowl half time show. Not because I am offended by the sight of another human’s nipples, but because of the hypocrisy that it did not spark an immediate apology from CBS. I thought we were trying to get past treating men and women differently in this country.”
From Buffalo, NY:
“Adam Levine, lead singer for the Maroon 5, took his shirt off, exposing his breasts and nipples. I believe that, when this happened to a woman in 2004, Janet Jackson, a complaint was lodged and CBS was fined $550,000. I would expect the same enforcement here.”
From Boise, Idaho:
“I want him banned, just like they did Janet.”
From Portland, Maine:
“Double standard! Maroon five took off his shirt, showed BOTH NIPPLES. who will think of the children?”
From Cramerton, NC:
“Male or female, the rule/law should apply. I urge that equal or greater action be taken for this equally indecent act”
“Seeing Adam Levine’s nipples was repulsive. Also the fact that there hasn’t been an immediate backlash like the Janet Jackson incident is disturbing and sexist”
Even someone in New Orleans, which had a large number of people boycott the game because of the controversial non-call that likely cost the Saints a Super Bowl trip, was watching.
“On Sunday Feb. 3, 2019 during the halftime show for the NFL Super Bowl my family and I was offended by the nude chest of Maroon 5’s lead singer. It was totally not called for or needed. We are asking for him to be fined with an public apology.”
Some, like this person in Indianapolis, were offended by other parts of the halftime show.
“disgusting f bombs and other curse words by performers during 2019 Halftime show. The bleeping didn’t cover half of it, why would the fcc allow it to have to be bleeped to start with.”
From Blackwood, NJ:
“Part of the Super Bowl show was racist against white people. Calling white people crackers is reverse discrimination.”
A trailer for Jordan Peele’s new horror film “Us” also aired, drawing anger from some parents.
From Everett, Wash.
“The moment we turned on the live streaming channel, an ad featured some kind of demonic movie called “US” dragging a young child under a bed to kill them. Seriously?! We couldn’t find the remote to turn it
off and grabbed our daughter to take her out of the room while she cried in terror.”
From Wilmington, DE
“I was watching the Super Bowl pregame show with my family when an advertisement for the horror film “Us” came on the television. The imagery is terrifying and I am thankful my four year old wasn’t watching the T.V. at the
From Provo, Utah:
“We had to turn off the volume and tell our children to look away a couple times already and the Super Bowl isn’t even past the 1st quarter. Thanks for the nightmares CBS!”
Someone in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., questioned the appropriateness of a “frozen food porn” commercial.
“Devour’s (Kraft/Heinz) commercial about frozen food, but making a mockery of a sex addiction is extremely distasteful. We have a sex addict in our family and it has caused much pain and suffering. This is one of the hardest addictions to recover from, and to make fun of it is so wrong.”
Finally, a viewer in Sellersburg, Ind., complained about Tom Brady.
“During the Super Bowl, I think Tom Brady said the n word when talking to a Rams player after beating them. I didn’t like how he hugged the Patriots owner but I think they’re in love so it’s ok.”
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)