The incident drew a torrent of criticism from America's pearl-clutchers, who were just scandalized at the revelation that women have nipples, and earned CBS a $550,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission. But Timberlake was allowed to perform at the ceremony after he "tearfully apologized" to Moonves, according to sources.
HuffPost's Yashar Ali reports that Jackson's wardrobe malfunction - during which Timberlake tore a piece of fabric off her shirt, exposing her breast for less than a second - angered Moonves beyond belief. He told another source that heads were going to roll as a result of the deal.
CBS declined to comment on HuffPost's report.
He was "furious that Jackson didn't make a similarly contrite apology to him".
He then made it a mission to sabotage Jackson's career in his capacity, who at the time was a superstar in her own right.More news: CBS board discussing Moonves exit, a clearer way for a sale
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Moonves ordered Viacom properties VH1 and MTV, and all Viacom-owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson's songs and music videos.
Another point of contention in the entire controversy was the discriminatory treatment between the two artists involved.
While Timberlake seemed to come out unscathed after the ordeal and after issuing an apology, Jackson however suffered after the sales of her "Damita Jo" album the same year, tanked. Jackson, on the other hand, was apparently not as remorseful as Timberlake, which stirred Moonves' animosity towards her.
Things got even more out of hand when Moonves reportedly found out that Simon & Schuster were releasing Jackson's book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself.
In fact, his tone about the book deal was so belligerent one source refused to speak on the record because he was "not interested in having that man following me to the grave and trying to screw me over the whole time".
Following the February 2004 incident in which Timberlake exposed Jackson's breast on stage, Moonves reportedly banned both stars from the forthcoming Grammys.