NFL Demanding $1.5 Million From Rapper Who 'Flipped the Bird' During Super Bowl Halftime Performance THR; YouTube
As millions of us recall, the English-Sri Lankan rapper-singer M.I.A. "extended her middle finger during a performance of 'Give Me All Your Luvin' ' while mouthing, 'I don't give a shit,' " during a halftime performance at the 2012 Super Bowl, reports The Hollywood Reporter's Hollywood Esq., noting that the NFL has filed suit against M.I.A. for displaying the gesture. (You can see the moment in the video clip below.)
The NFL is looking for $1.5 million in damages for what the league says in the lawsuit was an "offensive gesture in flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl."
The story adds that M.I.A.'s attorney, Howard King, is fighting the suit, saying, "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."
The story continues: "The NFL makes the argument [in its lawsuit] that M.I.A. intentionally breached her agreement [to perform at the Super Bowl] with her gesture and says that if there's any doubts about her obligations under the contract, 'M.I.A., as a member of the public and a noted member of the music entertainment industry, was unquestionably aware of the adverse consequences sustained by the NFL, and the public outcry provoked, by the Janet Jackson 'wardrobe malfunction' during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.'
"King argues that the NFL's damage claim is ludicrous and that the FCC and the network that aired the gesture haven't cried foul. 'The statute of limitations has run on the FCC and NBC,' he says. '[They] will never assert a claim. Not only does NBC do hundreds of millions of dollars of business with the NFL, but NBC had a seven-second delay for the halftime show; either the operator fell asleep or the gesture was so fleeting he never saw it. In fact, no one would have seen it but for the advent of DVRs and the ability to freeze frame.'
The THR piece gives King the last word: "King adds, 'We encourage people to submit their examples of how the actions of the NFL, its stars, coaches, advertisers, broadcasters, team doctors and owners have damaged or destroyed any vestiges of any reputation for wholesomeness ever enjoyed by the NFL. These submissions, which we plan to use to bolster M.I.A's defense, will help balance the playing field, as they very well could eliminate the burden of undertaking a formal survey of the history of unwholesome behavior, can be made to the M.I.A defense team by email to NFL@khpblaw.com.' "
Here's the video of the offensive finger: