In an incident that is being compared to the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” by Janet Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl, NBC and the NFL have apologized for a performance by a singer during Sunday’s halftime show for Super Bowl XLVI, the Associated Press reports.
Singer M.I.A. reportedly flipped the bird during her appearance as part of Madonna’s set — extending her middle finger during Madonna’s performance of her new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin.”
"The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans," said a representative for the NFL, which produced the halftime show. NBC also apologized, noting that its system "was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture," the piece adds.
M.I.A. had reportedly not done anything similar in rehearsals before the game, and the NFL didn’t have a reason to suspect she might make such a gesture, according to the article.
The story adds: “The screen briefly went blurred after M.I.A.’s gesture in what was a late attempt — by less than a second — to cut out the camera shot.”
The Super Bowl is television’s biggest ratings night of the year, and the incident took place in front of an estimated 110 million viewers on NBC. As she made the gesture, M.I.A. appeared to sing, “I don’t give a [expletive],” although it was unclear exactly what she said, according to the report.
Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during Super Bowl XXXVIII, in which her bare nipple was glimpsed by millions of viewers, was televised by CBS in February 2004. That incident triggered fines, FCC regulations and a torrent of complaints, and is still referenced in discussions about television indecency.