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.