It’s the middle finger of all middle fingers — at least that’s what it’s shaping up to be for rapper M.I.A.!
After two years of fighting, the NFL has added more than $15 million to its arbitration claim against M.I.A., who stirred up controversy when she flipped the bird during Madonna’s Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. The additional charges bring the NFL’s suit against the artist to a whopping $16.6 million in “restitution.”
The NFL first announced in September 2013 they were seeking $1.5 million from M.I.A. for breach of contract and "flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl." The league is now citing $16.6 million as the value lost, in advertising dollars, during her two minutes on screen.
In response to the new claims, M.I.A. took to Twitter to bring her situation to light. In one of several posts, she pointed out that the 2012 Super Bowl received a mere 222 complaints — some over the commercials shown — compared to Janet Jackson’s 542,000 complaints for her wardrobe malfunction. While clearly upset, she was able to joke in one post, tagging Madonna in asking “ummm… can i borrow 16 million?”
M.I.A. also posted to her account the NFL’s requested percentages of her salary based on her earnings, tagging the post “THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT ME TO SIGN , THAT IVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR 2 YEARS ON TOP OF 16 MILLION.” Per that agreement, if the singer were to make between $500,000 and $2.5 million in a year, the league would collect 50 percent of her gross earnings. Over five million, they’d take all of it.
In her legal team’s full response to the claims, which can be found on The Hollywood Reporter, the NFL is called out for “trying to make an example” of M.I.A., pointing out that she’s not the first person to violate their morality issues. The reply cites several other examples of artists pushing the limits in previous halftime shows, and claims that the NFL and NBC should hold themselves responsible for the failure of their five-second delay, during which, the papers say, they could have caught and censored her bird flipping.
What do you think: does the NFL have a case against M.I.A. or should they just let it go?
Sources: M.I.A. on Twitter, The Hollywood Reporter