I-TEAM: Adam Levine's nipples, questionable language, and yes, Janet Jackson have all offended viewers enough to file FCC complaints
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Parents, we know a lot of you will bend the bedtime rules Sunday so your kids can stay up to watch some or maybe even all of the big game.
But the Super Bowl is not always known for being super family-friendly. Just ask the federal government.
Each year, the FCC is sure to get viewer complaints from the public about the content of the game or the content of the Halftime Show.
So, we sent in a Freedom of Information Act request to review the past 5 years of FCC complaints against the Super Bowl and the Halftime Show.
We got 177 complaints covering the last 5 Super Bowls. We did not get names, but each complaint listed a city and a state, and we know at least two of them came from people right here in the CSRA.
We took those record to some members of the MOMS Club of Aiken.
“I haven’t gotten to a single complaint that isn’t Adam Levine yet,” said one mom.
Of course, a shirtless Maroon 5 front man was among the major complaints from last year’s Halftime Show, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that little incident with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake in 2004. Yes – the “wardrobe malfunction”.
Ever since then, it’s been TV’s ultimate cautionary tale that led to more than 50 complaints about both of Adam Levine’s nipples.
"No nipples at the Super Bowl, male or female,” one complaint said.
"I thought we got the message across with Miss Jackson,” another complaint said.
One even said, "as a breastfeeding mother, I am always aware of my nipples being exposed (the horror) and offending those around me when (gasp) feeding my child in public."
"I didn't care about Adam's nipples,” Sydney, a MOMS Club mom, said. “I didn't care about Janet's nipples. And my kids are in bed at 7:30. I don't care if Jesus is coming at 8, they're in bed at 7:30.”
Which might explain why the most complaints come from California. Think of the time difference. More kids are awake. But when we crunched the numbers, that theory didn't hold. Florida was No. 2, then New York, then Texas, then Pennsylvania.
Georgia had eight, including two from our area. One from a viewer in Grovetown and the other in Appling. We found none in South Carolina.
Aside from anatomy, another complaint was language. Apparently, some offensive words slipped through the cracks.
"He was telling Tom Brady he's the f-ing greatest, and you know what he is,” MOMS Club mom Nicole said.
Nicole is a big Patriots fans, so that one can slide.
Other examples, though, can be teaching moments.
“You know what, sometimes adults say bad words,” Nicole said. “But we don't say them right? Right. Done."
But since it's not always obvious, younger kids might not even notice.
"With the Super Bowl, it's one of those things unless you're really paying attention, and kids our ages are not listening or watching for any of those things," one mother said.
What it really comes down to is what are you comfortable parenting?
"I appreciate some of the halftime stuff,” Sydney said. “Like the, ‘I kissed a girl,’ like the Beyonce stand on police brutality because it starts conversations in my home."
Every child and every household is different.
“Is this a conversation I want to have? Is this the way I want to approach it? Is this the exposure I want them to have? And that's just for every family,” one mother said.
The big takeaway here is what you allow at your house is what you allow at your house.
One thing's for sure, though. Something will happen Sunday that will offend somebody, and the FCC will be waiting to add it to the public record.