The Red Hot Chili Peppers were the focus of 53 complaints made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after the band’s performance at the Super Bowl last month — all because bassist Flea and singer Anthony Kiedis were shirtless and had their nipples exposed.
According to NME, one complaint specifically referenced Janet Jackson‘s infamous 2004 nipple slip, saying, “The halftime show had a gratuitous display of nudity and the nipples of more than one adult were were displayed on broadcast TV. If Janet Jackson can’t show a nipple, then neither should they.”
- Prior to the game, Flea joked on Twitter, “Anybody wanna see my c**k at the Super Bowl?” But Flea must have heard from someone connected to the big game because the tweet was almost immediately deleted.
- The Chili Peppers were known in their early years for performing in the nude except for some strategically placed socks. But drummer Chad Smith told us there was never any chance of that happening at the Super Bowl:
- “You know, there’s nothing to chance. Everything is all rehearsed and ‘what are you gonna wear?’ and ‘what are you gonna do?’ and, you know, all that kind of stuff. So it’s all — maybe a nipple might slip, though. You never know.”
- The group’s halftime performance with Bruno Mars at Super Bowl XLVIII ended up being controversial not because of any accidental nudity but because the band members were forced to admit that they were playing to a pre-recorded backing track and their instruments were not plugged in.
- Flea confirmed online that only Kiedis’ vocals were live, explaining that the band was offered no other option by the NFL. He added, “We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig.”