Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl halftime show may be a lot of things, but it’s apparently not worth $5,000.
A judge didn’t buy a Farmington lawyer’s claim that CBS Television owner Viacom should pay him $5,000 for having to see Jackson’s bare breast during the Feb. 1 show. Eric Stephenson had sued Viacom for false advertising in small-claims court.
Stephenson claimed he was led to believe this year’s Super Bowl halftime show would be a family oriented, patriotic celebration.
The father of three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, said pre-game advertising and information in television guides led him to believe he would see marching bands, balloons and a patriotic celebration during the program.
Instead, Stephenson claimed he was exposed to explicit song lyrics, Jackson’s bare breast following a “wardrobe malfunction,” Jackson and her dancers simulating sex acts on stage and what he called singer Kid Rock’s desecration of the American flag by wearing it as a poncho.
Salt Lake City attorney Jeff Hunt, who represented Viacom, says Stephenson complained in the wrong venue.
He should have filed a federal lawsuit or voiced his concerns to the Federal Communications Commission, which already is investigating the halftime show, Hunt said.
Stephenson said he was disappointed with Wednesday’s ruling and hasn’t decided whether he will appeal to district court.
“The real loser here is the consumer,” he said. “Without a victory here it gives advertisers a license to lie and get away with it.”