53 complaints were made about Red Hot Chili Peppers’ exposed nipples during their Super Bowl performance last month.
The complaints were made to the Federal Communications Commission, the body which regulates television and radio broadcasts in the United States. One of the complaints referenced Janet Jackson’s controversial Super Bowl performance of 2004, during which one of her nipples was exposed. The complaint, via Deadspin, read: “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.”
Following their performance with Bruno Mars at the American Football event, Red Hot Chili Peppers had to confirm that their instruments were not plugged in during the half-time show at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. The performance attracted the largest audience in the history of the sporting event, pulling in 115.3 million viewers.
During the show, many social media users commented that the band’s instruments did not appear to be plugged in. Blues guitarist blues artist Joe Bonamassa tweeted: “Flea… I mean we all know, but for god’s sake at least try to humor the children.”
In a long message on the Red Hot Chili Peppers website, bassist Flea explained that the bass, drums and guitar were not amplified or plugged in, but the vocals were. He wrote that the band were offered no other option by Super Bowl organisers NFL, and following careful consideration decided to go ahead and appear at the event in spite of having to mime.
“So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal, like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it… 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.”
This story originally appeared on NME