of Getty Images via Hollywood Reporter.com
Evan De Souza
It was the finger that started a war.
It’s been 18 months, however the NFL is still in a frenzy since M.I.A.’s 2012 Super Bowl half time show. During the performance, which was headlined by pop superstar Madonna, M.I.A. infamously flashed her middle finger for the cameras and mouthed “I don’t give a shit.”
Now the singer is in a legal battle with the NFL, who is demanding the she pay $1.5 million and issue a public apology.
The Hollywood Reporter
is reporting through access to legal documents, it seems the NFL is arguing M.I.A, whose real name is Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, breached her contract and is trying to make her liable for the incident. The legal documents claim that M.I.A.’s “offensive gesture” was in “flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl.” The NFL has been very strict with its Super Bowl performances since the infamous Janet Jackson nipple slip.
Although M.I.A. and the NFL have kept their legal dealings secret for the past year the “Paper Planes” singer and her lawyer Howard King are ready to wage a public battle against the organization if the lawsuit goes to trial. "She is going to go public 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," King told The Hollywood Reporter.
M.I.A. and King are fighting back at the NFL’s claims that she harmed their reputation. King said “Of course, 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."
Both M.I.A. and King are urging her fans to rise up against the NFL by sending submissions of how the NFL – players, coaches, broadcasters – have harmed the wholesome reputation of the organization. Who knew a finger could cause so much controversy.
Check out the performance below if you want to see what all the fuss is about.