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Remember when M.I.A. flipped off the camera during Madonna’s set at the Super Bowl? Well, she certainly does. About a month after she threw up the bird, the NFL’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against her for breach of contract. They demanded $1.5 million in compensation as well as a public apology for her nasty act that ran in contrast to the NFL’s “wholesome” image. Well, a year and a half later, the two sides are still fighting, and now, the animosity has gone public.
Much of the back and forth between the two sides has centered around two issues: whether or not M.I.A.’s middle finger was a calculated attempt to generate publicity or an impulsive act and whether or not the NFL’s claim of being “wholesome” is credible. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the NFL thinks M.I.A. went into the event knowing full well she’d flip off the camera and create a little bit of a stir. She, however, says she just got overwhelmed by the moment and so into the performance she didn’t actively think out the consequences of her impulsive action. In addition, she doesn’t think what happened was even that bad, especially compared to all the other stuff the NFL is into.
Here’s what her lawyer had to say…
"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."
Really, there are two separate issues here. If we’re talking about whether or not M.I.A. decided to flip off the camera to attract a little publicity and try to make herself look cool, I think that’s very in the realm of possibilities. In fact, I think that’s probably what happened. As such, I think she should be entitled to pay any FCC fines and damages, but fortunately for her, the FCC really didn’t care. It all happened so fast and was so hard to see that the censorship organization just let it go. The NFL, however, has pushed forward to try and be the morality police, and that’s where I have a problem. No one benefits from this lawsuit. If executives were smart, they’d simply never ask M.I.A. back and move on with their lives.