Fact Check

Super Bowl Lawsuit

Is a California man suing CBS, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake?

Published Feb 10, 2004

 (Alex Staroseltsev / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via Alex Staroseltsev / Shutterstock.com
A California man is suing CBS, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake over the breast-baring incident during halftime at Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Whatever the repercussions might be from the breast-baring incident involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during halftime at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, a California man's filing a lawsuit "claiming that the incident left him physically ill" isn't one of them.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2004]

California Man sues CBS, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake

CORONA, CA (Corona Times) - A man is suing CBS, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake for an on-air incident involving the exposure of one of Ms. Jackson's breasts.

Steve Bosell of Corona, California has filed a lawsuit claiming that the incident left him physically ill, induced vomiting, psychologically scarred his children and has ruined sexual relations with his wife.

"I just couldn't believe what I saw during the Superbowl Halftime Show. How could CBS allow Justin Timberlake to expose one of Janet Jackson's breasts on the air?" Bosell said. "I had just eaten two foot long sub sandwiches, which I bought at the local Subway sandwich shop. When Janet's breast appeared on TV I became physically ill and vomited before I could even make it to the restroom".

According to the lawsuit, filed within hours of the incident by Riverside attorney Delores Blasingame, Mr. Bosell claims his children were psychologically scarred because they were first frightened and then laughed at him.

"My own children ran away from me screaming like I was some sort of puking boogeyman who was coming to get them. After I finished vomiting on the living room floor, the children realized I was in a weakened, pathetic state and began to laugh at me. I am now in the process of hiring psychiatrists for my children." Bosell said in a strained voice.

"Later in the evening, my wife refused to be intimate with me after I had cleaned up. When she finally agreed to be intimate and took her top off in the dim light of our bedroom, all I could see was Janet Jackson's big ugly breast with a metal star covering the nipple staring back at me. Then to top it off, I swear that it morphed into Michael Jackson's face! I suddenly realized I was still aroused with Michael's face staring back at me. At this point my manhood totally stopped working" Bosell said while breaking down sobbing. "I don't think I'll ever be able to get it up again!"

CBS and representatives for Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake did not return calls regarding Mr. Bosell's lawsuit.

"I demand compensation because CBS, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake went absolutely out of their way to make me look like a fool" Mr. Bosell said. "I am asking other people to come foward and join my lawsuit against CBS, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake."

Mr. Bosell can be reached through his attorney Delores Blasingame at 1-800-449-8686.

Copyright 2004 - Corona Times

The putative plaintiff in this suit, Steve Bosell, is a creation of talk radio host Phil Hendrie. Hendrie's stock in trade is inventing outrageous "guests" with whom he converses on his show (the guests are actually voiced by Hendrie himself), and one of his recurring characters is Steven Bosell, owner of B & B Construction in Corona, California, who regularly "appears" on Hendrie's show to discuss his latest loony lawsuit.

The fictional Mr. Bosell made our pages last year, when he was supposedly suing Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge for emotional distress after duct-taping his "privates" to protect them from a biological attack. (The satirical "Steve Bosell" articles often cite the Corona Times as a source, and the phone number given at the end of this piece is the call-in number for Hendrie's radio show.)

As proof that good satire often anticipates reality, at least one real lawsuit was prompted by the Super Bowl incident, though — Terri Carlin of Knoxville, Tennesse, filed a proposed class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking damages for emotional injuries caused by the exposure of Janet Jackson's breast. As the Associated Press reported:

Carlin filed a proposed class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court Wednesday against Jackson, singer Justin Timberlake, broadcasters MTV and CBS and their parent company, Viacom.

Carlin alleges that she and others who watched the halftime show during Sunday's Super Bowl were injured by the performers' lewd actions when Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson's costume, exposing her breast.

In the lawsuit, Carlin charges that the exposure and "sexually explicit conduct" by other performers during the show injured viewers.

"As a direct and proximate result of the broadcast of the acts, (Carlin) and millions of others saw the acts and were caused to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury," the lawsuit says.

The suit was dropped less than a week later, however.


    Associated Press.   "Tennessee Woman Files Suit Over Super Bowl."     5 February 2004.

    Associated Press.   "Woman Drops Lawsuit Over Jackson's Stunt."     ABCNews.com.   10 February 2004.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.