NFL Suing MIA For $1.5 Million For 2012 Super Bowl Middle Finger

No one on the field had swagger like her, that’s for sure. Sri Lankan/English rapper and singer MIA famously flipped the bird and mouthed “I don’t give a shit” during the 2012 Superbowl XLVI halftime show, when she was sharing the stage with Madonna and Nicki Minaj. Although the show was broadcast with a seven-second delay, the finger was missed and not censored, and almost 167 million TV viewers copped an eyeful of what the NFL deemed to be the most offensive football-related body part since Janet Jackson‘s nipple. The world forgot about the ensuing uproar pretty quickly, but in the 18 months since the finger-flippin’ good performance, MIA has been locked in a legal battle with the NFL over her “offensive gesture”, with the league demanding $1.5 million and a public apology from MIA, saying she was a Bad Girl for “breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation.” The NFL has not addressed the fact that Nicki Minaj was infinitely more offensive during the performance by virtue of being Nicki Minaj.

The legal stoush has been kept under wraps… until now, that is. When it became apparent  that the FCC would let her be, and she wasn’t shut down by NBC for what the NFL described as an “offensive gesture … in flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl”, MIA’s legal team hoped the case would be settled privately. The NFL hasn’t backed down, and so MIA is planning to launch a “public war” on the league, threatening to step out “with an explanation of how ridiculous it was for the NFL and its fans to devote such furor to this incident, while ignoring the genocide occurring in her home country and several other countries, topics she frequently speaks to.”

MIA didn’t get paid for the performance – the exposure it provides to hundreds of millions of viewers is seen to be compensation enough –  but she did sign a contract stating she would “acknowledge the great value of the goodwill associated with the NFL and the tremendous public respect and reputation for wholesomeness enjoyed by the NFL” and that she “ensure that all elements of [her] Performance, including without limitation [her] wardrobe, shall be consistent with such goodwill and reputation.”

According to MIA’s lawyer, though, “The NFL’s claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious… in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players and the premature deaths that have resulted from same, and the raping of public entities ready to sacrifice public funds to attract teams.”

In other, much much awesomer Super Bowl news, a petition calling for shock horror metal band GWAR to headline the 2015 halftime show has reached over 28,000 signatures from fans of both American football and bands with outrageous sci-fi monster costumes, a propensity for spraying fake blood over the audience, and a stage setup that includes a dinosaur called “Gor Gor” who eats the lead singer. GWAR would make an almighty change from the very vanilla half time show planned for 2014, which is to be headlined by Bruno Marzzz. 

Via Lead image by
Christopher Polk for Getty Images.

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