Hey do you remember how singer M.I.A. flipped the bird during Madonna's Halftime Show at the 2012 Super Bowl and civilization as we know it collapsed under its weakened moral bearings? Yeah, me neither. In fact, if I hadn't just read that M.I.A. is actually being SUED by the National Football League, I would never have remembered that her middle finger made a brief appearance. After all, we've been kind of distracted lately with Miley Cyrus's coochie-rubbing foam finger.
So get this: the NFL is demanding a payment of $1.5 million from M.I.A, claiming the act breached her performance contract and "harmed the NFL's reputation." M.I.A has released a YouTube video responding to the lawsuit, and it is predictably awesome.
The NFL's lawsuit claims that M.I.A. did not live up to her contract, which stipulates that she had to "acknowledge the great value of the goodwill associated with the NFL and the tremendous public respect and reputation for wholesomeness enjoyed by the NFL." The contract apparently also addressed wardrobe malfunction concerns (I'm guessing this was added after Janet's surprise nip-slip in 2004) with the following language: "[performer will] ensure that all elements of [her] Performance, including without limitation [her] wardrobe, shall be consistent with such goodwill and reputation."
M.I.A. (real name Mathangi Arulpragasam) argues in her YouTube video (which, oddly, is footage of her talking to someone on the phone rather than addressing the camera) that Madonna's backup dancers weren't exactly in line with the NFL's touted wholesomeness. She points out that the dancers were all young high school girls under 16 who were striking sexually suggestive poses during her performance:
So now [the NFL is] scapegoating me into figuring out the goal posts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive or is an underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience?
They're basically [saying] it's OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female, than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That's what it boils down to, and I'm being sued for it.
Here's her video:
M.I.A. is asking fans to submit evidence of how the NFL, its coaches, players, and personnel have behaved in a manner inconsistent with its family-friendly image, and her lawyer has issued a strong statement against the league:
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 raping of public ... okay, I'm not entirely sure what that last bit was about, but overall I am totally team M.I.A. on this ridiculousness. I don't think every performance should include a middle finger, but in the grand scheme of things I cannot be convinced that this one gesture destroyed the WHOLESOMENESS of the Super Bowl. I mean, isn't it a little ridiculous to punish one performer for doing something a little R-rated during the halftime show, considering what we've come to expect?
What do you think about this lawsuit? Does M.I.A. deserve the punishment?
Image via YouTube