Super Bowl VIII: Fans ask why Adam Levine could show his nipples, but Janet Jackson couldn't

If Adam Levine can take his shirt off, why couldn't Janet Jackson?

That's the question that many people on Twitter were asking after Sunday night's Super Bowl halftime show, during which the Maroon 5 frontman took off his jacket and tank top to eventually perform his set's final song, "Moves Like Jagger," completely shirtless, showing off his tatted arms and chest.

Levine's move came 15 years after Janet Jackson was maligned after Justin Timberlake ripped off part of her top to expose one of her breasts on live television during the 2004 halftime show. Though Timberlake got off scot-free, the incident changed the course of Jackson's career as she shouldered much of the blame for the move that many referred to as a wardrobe malfunction.

SEE ALSO: Maroon 5 plays it safe during Super Bowl halftime show

On Sunday night, social media users couldn't help but compare the two moments.

"Why is it okay to see Adam Levine's boobs and not Janet Jackson's?" former "The Talk" co-host, Aisha Tyler, tweeted. "Asking for a friend."

"Super Bowl halftime nipple rules feel inconsistent," ESPN personality Katie Nolan said.

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Super Bowl LIII: Maroon 5 performs at halftime show
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Super Bowl LIII: Maroon 5 performs at halftime show
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Travis Scott (R) performs with Adam Levine and Maroon 5 during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Travis Scott perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Lead vocalist of Maroon 5 Adam Levine performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Sleepy Brown perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Big Boi, and Sleepy Brown perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Lead vocalist of Maroon 5 Adam Levine (R) performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Lead vocalist of Maroon 5 Adam Levine performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: James Valentine and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Big Boi, and Sleepy Brown perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Lead vocalist of Maroon 5 Adam Levine performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Adam Levine and Maroon 5 perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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They weren't alone in noticing the double-standard:

Loyal fans of Jackson have sought to honor the singer's legacy in the years since the incident that her career has yet to fully recover from. For the last two years, fans have named Super Bowl Sunday "Janet Jackson Appreciation Day" as a way of calling out the way that Jackson was treated following the performance that cast a shadow on the last decade and a half of her life.

Adding fuel to the fire, HuffPost reported last fall that ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves had made it his mission to ruin Jackson's career following the scandal. The 2004 Super Bowl and halftime show were broadcast on CBS and produced by MTV and resulted in major criticism for both networks -- as well as a $550,000 fine from the FCC.

Though Jackson and Timberlake had both stated that it was indeed a wardrobe malfunction (the rip was supposed to reveal a red lace bra and not her bare breast), Moonves "was convinced it wasn't a malfunction, but rather an intentional bid to stir up controversy."

SEE ALSO: Adam Levine's tank top leaves Twitter confused

Moonves had initially banned both singers from appearing at that year's Grammys (which also aired on CBS) the following week, but ultimately he allowed Timberlake to appear because of a tearful apology. Because Jackson didn't deliver a similar apology, Moonves not only kept her banned from the show, but also allegedly ordered Viacom-owned (CBS' parent company) channels and radio stations to stop playing Jackson's music and music videos.

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Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Super Bowl
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Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Super Bowl
HOUSTON, UNITED STATES: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform at half-time at Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium, 01 February 2004 in Houston, TX. AFP PHOTO Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, UNITED STATES: US singers Janet Jackson (R) and Justin Timberlake (L) perform during the half-time show of Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium 01 February 2004 in Houston, TX. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson during Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performs during the half - time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII (Photo by Bill Baptist/WireImage)
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performs during the half - time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performs during the half - time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII (Photo by Bill Baptist/WireImage)
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during The AOL TopSpeed Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show Produced by MTV at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson during Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 1: Singers Janet Jackson and surprise guest Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas. At the end of the performance, Timberlake tore away a piece of Jackson's outfit. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
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Though neither Levine nor CBS have responded to the latest round of controversy surrounding the performance, the Maroon 5 singer did generally address his critics on Instagram following the performance.

"When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote," he said. "Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight."

"We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage," he went on. "We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love."

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