NEW YORK – Before the Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake (search) and Janet Jackson rehearsed a tamer version of the now-infamous breast-baring performance during their halftime show, a worker who saw the rehearsals said Wednesday.
Timberlake practiced removing Jackson's jacket — not exposing her breast — in rehearsals several days before Sunday's game, said David Spear, who attended the rehearsals as a consultant for Pyrotecnico, the company hired by MTV to produce pyrotechnics during halftime.
Spear said Jackson was wearing a sweater and jeans during the rehearsal. Timberlake pantomimed removing a jacket, said Spear, who added that he assumed Jackson would be wearing both a jacket and a blouse underneath during Sunday's show.
Meanwhile, Jackson issued another apology in a videotape released to the media. The pop star had apologized Monday night in a written statement.
"I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention," she said. "MTV, CBS, the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end."
On Tuesday, film director Spike Lee criticized Jackson's surprise breast-baring as a "new low" of attention-getting antics by entertainers.
At the end of their duet, Timberlake snatched off part of Jackson's bustier on stage, revealing a breast clad only in a sun-shaped "nipple shield" to some 89 million viewers.
Lee, speaking at Kent State University's regional campus in Stark County, Ohio, on Tuesday night, said there has been a decline in artistry.
He said it's not enough to be a good singer, and that entertainers "have to do something extra" — such as the openmouthed kiss Madonna gave Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during the MTV Video Music Awards in August.
"What's gonna be next? It's getting crazy, and it's all down to money. Money and fame," said Lee, the director of "Malcolm X" and "Do the Right Thing." "Somehow the whole value system has been upended."
Jackson's spokeswoman, Jennifer Holiner, said a red lace garment was supposed to remain when Timberlake tore off the outer covering. But widespread questions remained about the intent.
The one-second flashing continued to cause reverberations as CBS said it would institute a video delay system to avoid any recurrence at the Grammy awards.
Timberlake, who is nominated for five Grammy Awards, is scheduled to perform on Sunday's telecast. Jackson is supposed to present an award.
"Unfortunately, we cannot count on those who appear on our air to live up to our standards," said Martin Franks, CBS executive vice president.
CBS faces a Federal Communications Commission investigation into whether the Super Bowl show violated decency laws, with potential fines of up to $27,500. If applied to each CBS station, the fine could reach into the millions.
FCC chief Michael Powell said Tuesday that the agency had begun a formal investigation, and a letter was sent to CBS. "It's well under way," he said.
All five commissioners expressed concern about the Super Bowl broadcast, but Powell declined to speculate on what the FCC would do once the investigation was finished.
Powell said he wasn't happy with the halftime show in general, which featured performances by Nelly and Kid Rock before the bump-and-grind duet with Jackson and Timberlake. Nelly gestured toward his crotch, while Kid Rock draped himself in an American flag-designed poncho.
Tom Freston, chairman of MTV Networks, said he welcomed the FCC's investigation, which he said will prove that the show's producers and broadcasters had no prior knowledge of the stunt. MTV produced the halftime show.
"We were really ripped off. We were punk'd by Janet Jackson," Freston said, referring to MTV's reality show that makes celebrities the butt of practical jokes.