Posted September 19, 2013

NFL reportedly in ‘secret legal war’ with M.I.A. over Super Bowl middle finger

Super Bowl XLVI, Super Bowl XLVIII
Singer M.I.A. is still making news years after her controversial Super Bowl performance.

Singer M.I.A. is still making news years after her controversial Super Bowl performance. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Both the NFL and NBC were left scrambling  to apologize after the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show featured an obscene gesture from singer M.I.A., who joined Madonna on stage during the performance. M.I.A. looked directly into one of NBC’s cameras, raised her middle finger and said, “I don’t give a s**t” during the song “Give Me All Your Luvin.” (You can watch the uncensored incident here).

Apparently, the NFL is still not ready to let her off the hook.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the league has been “waging secret legal war” against M.I.A., seeking $1.5 million and a public apology. Her lawyer, Howard King, told the Reporter that M.I.A. “plans to launch a public war on the mega-powerful football league”.

“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,” King said, “while ignoring the genocide occurring in her home country and several other countries, topics she frequently speaks to.” M.I.A. (real name Mathangi Arulpragasam) is half-Sri Lankan.

King continued, lambasting the NFL for spending time on this issue:

“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.”

League spokesman Brian McCarthy apologized on behalf of the NFL for M.I.A.’s halftime-show actions, and did so before the Giants even wrapped their victory over the Patriots. “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,” said McCarthy.

NBC’s Christopher McCloskey offered this response at the time: “”We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during halftime. It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the NFL did not offer any comment on the legal matter with M.I.A.

Last year’s halftime show, starring Beyonce, was far less controversial — though some wondered if the game’s blackout might have been caused, in part, by the extravagant performance, in which an army of holograms danced along with the singer. Grammy-winner Bruno Mars will be the headline act at Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.

118 comments
RussHaasch
RussHaasch

Hey, you hire a loser, you get loser-like stuff.

DamionMosher
DamionMosher

Omg, really, this is a story. Sorry if you all were offended, but since her gesture and speach would not be seen as unduly obscene by a normal person, they are actually protected by the 1st amendment. They might have been offensive, but not technically obscene.

Nuschler
Nuschler

As a Vietnam Vet I wear an MIA-POW bracelet in honor  of a fallen comrade.  I just object to the name MIA which for me is "MIssing in Action."

What an obscene talentless person.

ITATTRACTS
ITATTRACTS

Was she "ignoring the genocide in her home country" when she was on stage in America, dancing like a hooker and collecting a check? Just wondering....

ShawnKey
ShawnKey

And who cares about this???

iamHoraceKnight
iamHoraceKnight

       Since when did M.I.A.  become a rapper?     How many people actually saw it live? I was watching that Super Bowl and did not see her middle finger until the media put it out everywhere.  How many kids really saw it when it happened?    

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

I actually hope the league wins its suit against MIA!  Who in the world is she anyways? Why did she do something as stupid as flip the bird on national television/?  You should have to pay for stupidity.

Matt60
Matt60

I like how everybody here is some omnipotent,pious, moralist. She flipped the bird to the camera who freaking gives a crap. People do it everyday in traffic. "But kids where watching"..Well stop putting your kind infront of a television so you don't have to raise them. And the NFL is huge fascist powerhouse. They don't need money from this "artist"..They have you the tax payers to help  put up half of their new stadiums and then you get to pay $100 a ticket and $10 beers to go to one of these overpriced games to a stadium witch the tax payer indirectly funded and the owners reap the rewards of you being a bunch of suckers.

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

I think she knew she was violating the terms of her deal with the NFL,CBS etc etc when she flipped the bird. A lot of people trying to get fame & recognition try and capitalize on one event that is watched by all and then spin it into something different to make money. I.E. Kardashians.......Either way it didn't work. I don't like her music and it sure sounds like she won't be getting any airtime on any major networks anytime soon. 

MadDoser
MadDoser

They payed her to perform and she violated their terms and conditions....  Sounds like a good reason to sue.  Why keep it 'secret'?

donald5
donald5

Sorry moron but if you sign a contract that disallows such behavior that includes the middle finger, then you VIOLATE that contract and the other party is due compensation.  I can guarantee that after the Janet Jackson fiasco, those superbowl performer contracts were air tight.  I know MIA "don't give a beep" about the "oppressive" contract she signed, but the courts don't care what MIA thinks.  

john134
john134

Why did they even offer "MIA" TO PERFORM INTHE FIRST PLACE? Who the heck even knew who she was prior to this?

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

The NFL is making an example out of her b/c of all the recent inappropriate gestures during the Super Bowl halftime shows.  So she pulls the genocide card and the NFL pulls out the family, wholesome play 60 image and they let the courts deal w/ it.  The NFL is a self-sustaining mega money power house that cannot be stopped.  She be crushed and or go bankrupt trying to fight this claim.   Plus she WAS in the wrong for flipping off the camera, why not apologize do some work w/ the kids and move on? 

jsmarkley
jsmarkley

Shouldn't they be suing NBC for not censoring it? They have a 7 sec delay.  And she's right, the NFL puts forth this "All-American" image while they continually churn out headlines for wrecked lives & violence. They're better off dropping it, they don't need the money & she's not exactly a mega-star that's going to turn a ton of heads.

brucemcfarlandoncins1
brucemcfarlandoncins1

I don't care about the finger.  Why I do not get  is, if the NFL is soooooo bad, which they are, then why did MIA accept the offer to play at its biggest event of the year, the super bowl?

Why not just make it public that you were offered the gig and then turn it down publicly and state your reasons why?  I guess just immaturity and the greed for the MONEY! Hypocrite




lawlegaladvice
lawlegaladvice

@DamionMosher - The first amendment does not apply with regard to private contracts and agreements. And if you don't think that flipping the bird is obscene or insulting, you can experiment by seeing how the boyz in a bad neighborhood might react to this non-obscene gesture. :)

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@RyanWI We all know now. That's probably what the finger was about - Publicity. Isn't it always? 

gymviking
gymviking

@iamHoraceKnightDoes it matter? If your point is the media blew it out of proportion, then I agree with you. That still doesn't change the fact that she chose to do it after signing an agreement that has a conduct clause in it (assumed, but pretty sure after recent wardrobe malfunctions). Saying not many people saw it originally is an argument to limit the damages.

davedsone1
davedsone1

@ProfessorGriff Be careful what you wish for.. or YOUR comment would be costing you big bucks.  It's fairly stupid too.

mickpatrick1
mickpatrick1

@Matt60"She flipped the bird to the camera who freaking gives a crap." Grammar, my good man, grammar. Your sentence states that MIA made a gesture to a camera which, against all odds, freaking gives a crap. A camera, as an inanimate object, cannot give a crap. 

If you're going to make an effort to communicate with the world, at least try to make sense.

donald5
donald5

@Matt60 It isn't about morals.  It is about violating a contract.  MIA signs a contract that probably says she is not allowed to flip the bird, then she violates it.  Pretty simple  

Mike26
Mike26

Matt60, the dearth of intelligence shown in your post is stupefying and frightening. There's just too many sad issues in it to address them all. (shuddering)

decredico
decredico

@donald5 you are an ignoramus  .. there was no stipulation about finger geatures in the contract fool... she will easily win the lawsuit

Will10
Will10

@donald5 so youve read the contents of the contract she signed?

donald5
donald5

@jsmarkley How do you know NBC hasn't settled with them already instead of citing "genocide" as the reason for not censoring it?

DamionMosher
DamionMosher

Ii think offensive covers insulting, and comical speach is covered by the first amendment. The gesture would only not be covered in this case if it was specifically prohibited by the contract, since musical entertainment is covered by the artist freedom of expression which is a form of... Oh yeah free speach.

iamHoraceKnight
iamHoraceKnight

@gymviking @iamHoraceKnight  I am Not saying that she was right or trying to limit any damages. I am saying that the media blew it out of proportion.  I watched that performance and I didn't even see her put up her middle finger(I could be wrong, but with all the camera's and cuts back and forth, I am not even sure that it aired).   ...  It surely wasn't as blatant as Justin and Janet.  .. 

danboz11
danboz11

@Mike26 Mike26, try to sound smart all you want, Matt still has a valid point.  

donald5
donald5

Sorry decridio but the moment janet jackson's boob popped out the nfl's lawyers got busy crafting future performance contracts so they wouldn't be publicly embarrased like that again. Are you naive enough to think a billion dollar business would put their image at risk to the whims of some stupid "rap artist"? No you moron. They wrote an extensive catch all contract that covers any and all obscene gestures. Sorry but you are wrong.

Mike26
Mike26

Stop Will while you're still behind.

donald5
donald5

@Will10 @donald5 No, Will, but let me ask you something.  Over the past 20 years what is the most talked about thing that occurred with a half time performance?  Something vulgar, correct?  Something unplanned that tarnished the image of the league, correct?  Now Will... what could a multi-billion dollar industry possibly do to prevent such a vulgar display being made again?  What would be their only way of preventing a performer from going off script like that?  Having that incident brought up almost any time a halftime show was mentioned might cause the NFL to make certain stipulations in the performer's contract, am I right?  It is just plain common sense that the NFL would do that. 

Nuschler
Nuschler

@iamHoraceKnight @gymviking There is a GREAT chance you weren't staring at her hand...

You were probably waiting for a "wardrobe malfunction" a la Sharon Stone from Basic Instinct.

Nuschler
Nuschler

@donald5 @decredico @Matt60   While many counties have tried to put "morality clauses" in the contracts of half-time performers (actually ANY performer) the language in the contract must be so specific and precise that it is just impossible to write.  There is a "little thing" called the First Amendment.  So NO morality clause!

No one is being REQUIRED to watch the performance.  And if you truly think that a performer  "giving the bird" to a camera is the very worst thing your chid will ever see? Well you just don't know what your kids are watching every day.

I think that out of the 45 or 46 pro football championships that I have seen I watched one half-time show..."the Boss."

donald5
donald5

@decredico @donald5 @Matt60 Right dude... after the the Janet JacksonBoob incident, I'm sure the billion dollar business that seems totalitarian and paranoid in the management of their image would not get some lawyers to craft every future performer's contract to cover any and every obscene gesture a performer could think of.  Sure....  

Mike26
Mike26

Which is what? Breaking performance contracts is OK? What is the valid point he made? It's nothing more than a rambling rant.

tiger3389
tiger3389

@danboz11 @Mike26 

No, Dan, he really doesn't. 

 Watching the Super Bowl with your kids doesn't constitute television babysitting, constituents vote on the taxes, nobody has to go to games, I have never flipped anyone off in traffic, and I do "give a crap" that she cursed into the camera while flipping off the watching public.  Plus Mike was referencing a lack of intelligence...the myriad grammar and spelling mistakes provide the proof.

donald5
donald5

@Will10 @donald5 It probably doesn't say "don't bring a monkey and a dog onto the stage to mimic copulation" either but it falls under a general vulgarity umbrella (which would be in the contract) numb nuts.  You got that willy?

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@Will10 It wouldn't state "don't give the finger" in her contract. It would read more like offensive language,gestures, etc etc. 

Will10
Will10

@donald5 @Will10 hey donnie, all im saying is that the chances that her contract said dont flip the bird is pretty slim. you got that donnie?