During the Superbowl, M.I.A gave the world the finger. The maverick raised her finger during a guest spot in Madonna’s half-time performance at the 2012 edition of the NFL’s biggest annual celebration of America’s inability to correctly play either football or rugby. The sporting body claims that, by raising her finger, MIA breached a contractual commitment to ensure her performance didn’t negatively impact on the “tremendous public respect and reputation” enjoyed by American football.
MIA’s lawyer Howard King told The Hollywood Reporter back then: “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”.
The latter claim has been added by lawyers – who may or may not be on a percentage cut of the winnings – based on the argument MIA raised her finger in a bid to capture the Super Bowl headlines for promotional gain, and therefore she should pay the NFL the going rate for promotional airtime during the big game, which works out at about $7.5 million per minute (she was on stage for two minutes).