It shouldn’t be so hard to apologize to Janet Jackson

Michael Arceneaux
Published in
5 min readFeb 13

CBS knows what it’s former CEO and chairman did. Say sorry and move on.

Photo: @JanetJackson/Twitter

All CBS had to do was say two words to Janet Jackson: we’re sorry.

They stubbornly evaded atonement, which is why at last week’s Grammys, Dr. Dre was given an award originally intended for her.

According to TMZ, the Grammys intended to honor Janet Jackson with a Global Impact Award only “there was a snag.”

That snag was that the Recording Academy wanted Janet to attend a pre-Grammy event with the Black Music Collective held days before the show — only her schedule wouldn’t allow it. The talks between her camp and theirs then pivoted to Janet receiving the award at the actual Grammys. Unfortunately, that presented another problem centered on CBS, the network airing the show, which has never dealt with its history with Janet following the 2004 SuperBowl.

Although many had their suspicions at the time it was happening, it was not formally revealed until 2018 that then CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves purposely sought to sabotage Janet’s career.

Reporting for The Huffington Post, Yashar Ali revealed that Moonves developed a “a years-long fixation” following “the so-called ‘wardrobe malfunction’ of 2004, when her breast was exposed for nine-sixteenths of a second after Justin Timberlake tore a piece of fabric off her bustier during their Super Bowl halftime performance.”

Both Janet and Justin were banned from the Grammys that year, but Justin was allowed to perform after he “tearfully apologized for the incident.”

Janet’s refusal to offer a similar act of contrition incensed Moonves and he used his power to retaliate.

Not only did he allegedly bar her from performing at the 2004 Grammys, he ordered VH1 and MTV to stop playing her videos, and forbade Viacom-owned radio stations from playing her music. His vendetta was so unwavering that, seven years later, when Jackson signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster — owned by the company now known as Paramount Global — to publish True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself, he reportedly claimed “heads will roll” over its release.

Michael Arceneaux
Writer for

New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus” and “I Don’t Want To Die Poor.”