Parents complained to the FCC about Shakira and J.Lo’s Super Bowl halftime show

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I like Jennifer Lopez and am a big fan of Shakira. (Dónde Están Los Ladrones? is one of my favorite albums.) I didn’t watch the Super Bowl halftime performance until recently, and thought it was great. It was what I expected: lots of spectacle, and both Jennifer and Shakira know how to put on a fun, energizing show. I was happy to hear a few seconds of “Ojos Así,” and also knew that it meant that Shakira would be belly dancing! (Not that that’s the only song that she belly dances during, but it’s a given that if she sings “Ojos Así,” she’s going to belly dance.) And, of course, not everyone was happy with Shakira and Jennifer’s performance. 1,312 people complained to the FCC about it. People felt that it was inappropriate for children and that it also somehow promoted sex trafficking(?). CNN has a sample of the comments:

Not appropriate for children
Many parents were left fuming after watching the show with their kids. Nearly half of the 1,300 complaints mentioned that the halftime show was inappropriate, especially for children.

“Jennifer Lopez’s performance at the Super Bowl halftime show was extremely explicit and completely unacceptable for a event where families including children are watching,” a Utah viewer said. “I had to send my children out of the room so that they weren’t exposed to something they should not have seen.”

“My family was very excited to watch the Super Bowl tonight,” a viewer from Washington complained. “However, I was not prepared to explain to my 11 yo daughter why Jennifer Lopez was dressed so scantily or why she kept grabbing her crotch. My daughter was asking if she was feeling sick from having so much skin showing.”

“No wonder there is sex trafficking”
“In our country there has been a push for women’s rights and more opportunities along with the Me too movement which is a good thing,” one Ohio viewer said. “This takes us back to where women get their worth from their sexuality not their brains/personality and I don’t appreciate it on a family friendly broadcast.”

“This is not appropriate family entertainment as the Super Bowl advertises. It was appalling! And then having young girls join the spectacle,” a Kentucky viewer said. “No wonder there is sex trafficking when you call this family entertainment. And where’s the Me Too women? Do you not see the hypocrisy?”

[From CNN]

This makes me both tired and angry. I’m not sure why people are shocked every year by the halftime show. They are meant to be spectacles, to get people talking and to entertain. Visible skin and suggestive moves shouldn’t be surprising to anybody. I have less-than-zero patience or time for anyone who isn’t smart enough to understand the difference between entertainment and illegal activity. Someone might not find either Shakira or Jennifer entertaining, and that’s fine, but no one should have any problem distinguishing between someone’s idea of entertainment and an atrocity. I have no patience for anyone who chooses to clutch their pearls and weep for what “the children” are being exposed to, and ignore the obvious difference between people having agency over their bodies, performing and having fun, and sex-trafficking. Hell no. To suggest that the two have any connection is irresponsible, dangerous, and does a huge disservice to victims.

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65 Responses to “Parents complained to the FCC about Shakira and J.Lo’s Super Bowl halftime show”

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  1. huckle says:

    So parent your children when you’re watching. Tbh, when has the NFL ever been a “family friendly” event. Dumb.

    • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

      Not just that, but CHANGE THE FRIGGIN’ CHANNEL IF YOU’RE SO OFFENDED!! JFC, it’s not that hard: press the button!!

      These same pearl-clutchers are perfectly fine with a p#ssy-grabbing, adulterous con-man for president though, someone who hands off managing a global pandemic to a man who probably sees it as The Rapture, and welcomes it.My guess is he’ll manage it as well as he did the HIV epidemic in his home state esp. since he won’t let himself be in a room with female doctors w/out “Mother” in to watch over. I’m sure he will try and pray it away.

      Thoughts and prayers for the pearl clutchers. Hope that, and a Tylenol, gives these morons the strength to cope as we go through a global pandemic.

    • Gina says:

      Yes, I agree with you, it is dumb. Especially considering the complaints came from 1% of total viewers. 1% this is a none story.

    • petee says:

      Exactly!My dad was a football coach and he alway’s had a HUGE party.But I did not grow up where I was taught to be easily shocked .But I never thought or had the impression it was a family show at all.

    • Maggie says:

      Funny how they don’t complain about the cheerleaders…

  2. Lisabella says:

    Those “parents” should worry about what’s in the White House, not the halftime show!

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Based on the rest of their commentary, (including the obvious but hard failed attempt to appropriate feminist language for a blatantly conservative agenda) I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly who they voted for.

  3. SusieQ says:

    As an article in Jezebel pointed out, none of these parents seem too concerned with their children watching grown men beat the snot out of each other and suffer traumatic brain injury as a result.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Well you know…there’s no ‘sex trafficking’ involved with brain injuries, so that’s okay for the youngun’s to watch. (I’d put in about 50 eyeroll emojis but yeah…)

  4. Jensies says:

    “ My daughter was asking if she was feeling sick from having so much skin showing.”

    Ummmmmm your kid didn’t say that, and if she did? Really look at why your child conflates physical sickness and nausea from…having bare thighs. Because that’s legitimately troubling.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      And the thing is, there’s not a lot of skin showing, she is literally covered, she’s wearing a bodysuit!

    • detritus says:

      That quote stood out for me too. Totally shared like that’s a normal and not weirdly uneducated and sexist idea?

      I have so many questions. Do they shower with their clothing on to avoid getting sick? Do you need to change your clothing super quickly to avoid a cold? Omg. What about birth?

    • Dutch says:

      No Karen, that was just bad bean dip your child consumed in the first half of the game.

  5. HeyThere! says:

    How is this any different when there’s a male front runner who is naked on stage shaking his pelvis, or when they have half naked women as back up dancers?! where are the complaints then??? So annoying!

  6. Yawn says:

    Aren’t there complaints every year about the halftime show? 🤷🏼‍♂️

    • Kelly says:

      Yeah. It’s just logical – the show is watched by millions of people, it’s impossible to please everyone, and in today’s era anyone can go an write a comment on the internet. Their comments are ridiculous, but I think getting outraged at someone else’s outrage over something so trivial is just as stupid. Shakira and JLo will be fine.

    • Dutch says:

      There are, but Adam Levine’s nipples only generated 94 FCC complaints the year previous. So, racism, sexism, double standards, coordinated action by right-wing parents groups are all in play in this situation.

  7. MC2 says:

    I grew up loving football, going to games with my father & watching them when we couldn’t attend. I don’t watch games with my boys because the NFL is a racist, sexist organization & I don’t want to romanticize young men getting permanent brain injuries for a game & cheerleaders on the sidelines just for a body show…that’s not my idea of family friendly. I would let them watch the half time show to see adult women singing, playing instruments, sending a pertinent message with kids in cages & owning their own bodies, though. We live in a topsy-turvy world right now.

  8. anon says:

    One only need compare JLo and Shakira’s outfits (which were frankly pretty tame/industry standard) with any random photo of NFL strippers – er, “dancers” to see that it’s a big nothingburger.

    The Real Issue: Racism.

    • huckle says:

      There’s likely truth in that. But these types of “mom” groups have been around forever especially in relation to music. Honestly, parents need to parent and be their own kids’ role models. It’s not up to everybody else.

    • Joanna says:


  9. Stef says:

    Makes me wonder if these same parents have ever seen a music video, or let their kids watch music videos. I’ve seen Kim K wear less than this and she is t singing and dancing.

    Bloody ridiculous to compare these two Latin artists to sex trafficking!

    • petee says:

      Right?Just stupid.When their kid’s have total access to watching the Kardashians and their Instagrams.

  10. ME says:

    1. Do the parents not have a problem with the cheerleaders? They had less clothes on than both J.Lo and Shakira.

    2. Have they never taken their kids to a beach? Women and some men walk around with much less on.

  11. Alisha says:

    I am sure all of these kids have access to the internet and have watched much worse things on YouTube.

  12. line says:

    Are the same parents are shocked by the facilitation by which American children and adolescents can have access to firearms and the trivialization of firearms in series, songs and films?

  13. Soupie says:

    This isn’t going to be a popular comment. I really liked the show except for them bending over with their asses to the camera and the world. That was inappropriate, unnecessary and over the top.

    They lowered themselves in front of the entire male population watching (zillions) and it normalizes this type of objectification of females and I do strongly object to it.

    • Stef says:

      Soupie: I take it you’ve never been to a concert with a female performer who also dances? Do you object to that too?

      They didn’t lower themselves at all, they are dancers and performers. They shouldn’t have to change how they performed to suit your prudish views. Just don’t watch them if you don’t like them, very simple.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      They did not lower themselves because a woman’s sexual modesty is not her worth, and she isn’t an object just because she rejects it. This becomes easier for people to realize when they aren’t going around basically calling Priyanka Chopra a h**ker and things of that nature.

    • Allergy says:

      I agree with you! I believe everyone should perform like they want and wear what they want, but I didn’t find this show “empowering.” I found it chaotic and really dated.
      But I don’t agree with the complainers who seem just annoying hypocrite moralists.

    • megs283 says:

      ok, I don’t think they “lowered” themselves, but I did wish they were more clothed. I like people to leave a little more to the imagination, and that includes men and women.

    • Bree says:

      I totally agree. And I get that it’s personal preference. I chose not to watch it, because I don’t find sexualized dancing empowering. But some would. I just think that the Super Bowl is supposed to be family friendly, despite the cheerleaders and football itself being a negative (to me) example to girls and boys. But that doesn’t mean I can’t also be saddened by, what feels to me, the half time show focusing on the human body as a sexual arousal object. It’s so much more, and performers and entertainment I choose to watch glorifies a more holistic view, in my opinions. I can see the argument from culture (I lived in Latin America for years), but for me it’s still way over the top. And that’s okay. We can all have different opinions. I expect accessible, day-time TV and internet to be within different parameters. They are not, but that’s what I’d prefer, so I thought I’d share my opinion, since that’s what we are doing here.

  14. Otaku fairy says:

    Just no. This message framing grown women’s choice to reject female modesty as somehow diametrically opposed to the #MeToo movement (plus having brains and talent) and being against human trafficking is what’s really dangerous, for both kids and adults. THIS is rape culture dressed up as a protection, and this insidious form of victim-blaming has slipped into ‘feminist critiques’ as well, because people are products of their environments. There also needs to be more honest conversations about how prudish misogynists like this radicalize dangerous, abusive men (and women).
    Female modesty /= ràpe prevention or the answer to our problems. Full stop. We can reject that AND fight abuse, misogyny, racism, etc. #SlutWalkForever

    • Bella says:

      Otaku fairy, 100%. Their sexuality, their choice. This is not objectification, not passivity – they were flexing their muscle, showing off their sexual power. Like male rock stars going shirtless and thrusting their hips at the camera. No difference. I’m not surprised *some* viewers were embarrassed, but let’s not apply the double standard.

      Both ladies were amazing. Fit, healthy, gorgeous, talented and over 40. Yay!

  15. lee says:

    Did they complain when it looked like Adam Levine’s penis might pop out of his low rider pants when he performed? Or that we could almost see the top of his butt crack?

  16. Emmitt says:

    Are the parents also complaining about the scantily clad cheerleaders writhing and wiggling?

  17. Allie says:

    They are probably still traumatised by Janet Jacksons nipple…

    • detta says:

      Yeah, first thing that came into my mind was ‘this is the country of Nipplegate, so no surprise really’. The problem many people in US society have with naked bodies and sexuality is worrying and by now it has gotten old, too. Will this ever change? It was interesting reading the thread about the sauna thing on here the other day, which touches on the same subject. Not a big deal in many countries, but apparently confuses many Americans.
      Also I will never understand why if you don’t like a performance on telly, just change the channel for crying out loud. It’s not that hard. But I guess they watch because they then have something to complain about.

  18. Misc.Mac says:

    Image show was Inarguably stripper-inspired – probably from J-Lo’s recent movie. I am no prude, hate watching football/NFL, but can enjoy seeing some powerful women perform. Watching SO many stripper moves was awkward!! They both slid across stage on their knees crotch to the camera – flashing their wax job. The whole room questioned whether we saw someone’s labia.

    • Emmitt says:

      There’s no way anyone saw a labia or a hint of a labia since both of them are wearing tights.

      • Itteh Bitteh says:

        Not to mention plenty of male singers have pulled the exact same move, “sliding across the stage into the camera crotch first.” In spandex. Hairbands, anyone? But that’s obviously ok, because, you know. P3n!s.

  19. HK9 says:

    This is not a family show. Play something else for your children during this time like the rest of the parents who are actually parenting when they’re with their children. If you expect the NFL to do what’s right by your kids you’re going to be in a LOT of trouble. The NFL’s only job is to provide an entertaining show and they did that. Next.

  20. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    SO Mary Whitehouse.
    (For my American CB friends, Mary Whitehouse was the Queen of Prude, sifting beadily through British tv programmes for any hint of moral upset.)
    Yes, there was a bit of fanny-shaking, but they wore more than their dancers – any outrage over that? Or is it just that some women hate the fact that other women are sexual beings?

  21. Bettyrose says:

    First, ALL football is is violent competition and sexy women gyrating. I don’t care if that’s your thing but the hypocrisy burns.

    Second, women owning their sexuality is the exact OPPOSITE of sex trafficking. But if you think women existing in plain site is the cause of sex trafficking, then oooh boy do I know some extremist religious cultures you’re gonna love.

    Third, 🤦🤦🤦

  22. Cherbear says:

    I’m a parent of a 10yo girl, and pretty liberal in my views, and I was ticked off at the halftime show too. Not enough to call in and complain, but enough to shake my head and have my kids leave the room.

    It is the hypocrisy of the whole thing that pisses me off. It was an amazing show. I loved it. But totally wrong audience.

    But FFS, don’t OPEN THE SUPERBOWL with kids running on the field, THEN have men touching and grinding on a mostly naked appearing woman dancing around a stripper pole, THEN A SECOND LATER put a bunch of prepubescent girls on stage all in white costumes in some pseudo- show of woke-ness. The whiplash is dizzying.

    I am concerned about the Sexualization of our young women, and my daughter, who is pretty savvy, was confused and not totally comfortable with the show. So, let’s either lsay the Super Bowl IS a family show or it ISNT. But including kids in the production and stage presence of the Super Bowl and then saying it isn’t a family show is BS and incredibly hypocritical.

    • megs283 says:

      I agree with the mixed messaging regarding the audience. The Super Bowl wants it all.

    • Joanna says:

      But …. what about the cheerleaders? Do you think their outfits are family rated? Or their routines? Imo, football isn’t g rated entertainment. BEFORE LOPEZ AND SHAKIRA. so it’s confusing to me how people can be ok w cheerleaders in skimpy outfits, gyrating but not 2 other female entertainers.

      • Bettyrose says:

        IKR? I Need to understand why cheerleading is family friendly under those terms? Is it because cheerleaders are hugely disempowered while JLo and Shakira were owning it? And if so let’s clarify what we object to…sexuality or woman-defined sexuality?

  23. Ann says:

    The show was not offensive to me and the bodysuits were fine, but I did sort of wince when they wiggled their booties so explicitly. Shakira and JLo are are so talented, I didn’t think they needed to go there.

    • Stef says:

      Shakira is a belly dancer, it’s called “shimmying”. It’s how she dances, she shouldn’t have to change that because you think she “shouldn’t go there”. You clearly don’t know her style.

      • petee says:

        Yes.Love her and she is a belly dancer.What did people think they were going to get?Jennifer was just coming off of Hustlers,hence the pole.I can’t believe people are this offended.Watch the E!Channel or K! Channel and look at your children phones.Trust me they were not as shocked as you think.

  24. Bella Mama says:

    The only thing watching the halftime show that I went that was one point where JLo was up high on something and she was I think sitting spread her legs and kind of touched herself between the legs and that to me I thought was unnecessary for the venue

    I didn’t think that the rest of the show was inappropriate. I rather liked it. And I did have to laugh with JLo throwing shade about Shakira opening for her when it turned out that she looked really stiff and forced after watching Shakira’s natural sensuality shine through.

  25. kb says:

    My daughter is 7 & she loves to dance, so she loved the halftime show. We let her watch it because we know she loves watching dancers. Not one time did I think it was inappropriate at all. We talked about how strong they were & how entertaining it was. Now she’s a hardcore Shakira fan, lol.

  26. Bea says:

    Breaking news: many white people mad at two Latina’s who became successful! LOL Did you read about the man claiming they endangered his ‘salvation’ into heaven (or some hogwash)? Both women appear to have some extra stockings/tights on with their outfits. Funny how people do not complain if it is a man on stage with his shirt unbuttoned while singing.

  27. ans says:

    If you’re so for “family values,” then why are you watching a game hosted by the NFL, the racist breeding ground for domestic abusers and murderers? The daughter’s question of whether they were “feeling sick from having so much skin showing” says way more about some gruesome parenting happening than the show itself. I wasn’t aware that to have my worth determined only by my skill and talent i had to dress like a puritan. GEEZE!

  28. MariaS says:

    These parents would totally take their kids to a Cirque du Soleil show and not complain about revealing costumes or someone doing acrobatics on a pole…they’d take their kids to a Dallas Cowboys football game and not complain about the cheerleaders kicking their legs up to head level in extremely short shorts…They sure as hell didn’t complain when Adam Levine performed topless. This has nothing to do with family values or their poor fragile children. They simply don’t like having POC centered/celebrated/honored in anyway. And lord, Shakira sang and spoke Spanish throughout her performance. THAT is what they’re pissed about.

  29. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Such a shame 1,312 people are still unaware that you can change channels.

  30. Tuntmore says:

    I would argue that watching men give each other concussions for 2 hours is not exactly family-friendly fun…especially when quite a few of those men are abusers or rapists. And that no one benefits from encouraging a system where toxic men get away with whatever they do just as long as they’re talented at a violent sport. And that football coverage has sexualized and objectified women for years.

    I love football, but it’s inherently problematic. Two talented artists singing and dancing during a musical performance? Not at all problematic.

  31. Sass says:

    I was the only atheist in a room full of nondenominational Christian church leaders and about a million kids that evening and we were all drunkenly singing along and pretending to shake our nonexistent booties like these two and watching the Sharkira video.

    If people who literally work for a church can get down with it in front of their kids these people complaining need a hobby

    PS sorry, we weren’t all drunk. Clearly the children were only mildly buzzed

  32. Sass says:

    Also Utah and Ohio? Hahaha makes sense