While Madonna was bumping and grinding during her song “Give Me All Your Luvin’, rapper M.I.A. was putting on her own show. She gave the camera the finger, in effect flipping off 100 million people watching from home.
Some reports claimed that she also uttered an expletive, but it could not be immediately confirmed. NBC immediately issued profuse apologies for the what it called a “spontaneous gesture.”
Although not nearly as dramatic, the incident recalled Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction during her 2004 Super Bowl performance with Justin Timberlake. Both cases were called inappropriate by the network.
“We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during halftime,” the network said in a statement. “It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late.”
While the league hired the talent for the show, NBC was responsible for monitoring the broadcast in the event of an incident. The Super Bowl is considered family programming, and CBS was fined $500,000 after the 2004 incident. The fine was overturned in court last year, but the case continues.
“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans,” the NFL said in its own statement.
M.I.A. dressed like Cleopatra with black thigh-high boots, flashed her middle-finger for about a second. In contrast, Jackson’s breast was exposed for less than a second.
The British singer is best known for her 2007 hit “Paper Planes.” She was nominated for a Grammy for record of the year. The song also appeared on the soundtrack for the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”
So far, no word yet on what prompted the singer to flip her middle finger. Check out the video below:
Footnote: It sounds like she sings the words “I don’t give a sh*t.” Listen!