M.I.A., NFL in legal battle over Super Bowl halftime show

The NFL is in a "secret legal war" with music artist M.I.A. after she gave the middle finger during the February 2012 halftime show.
Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com  |  Sept. 20, 2013 at 11:26 AM
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During Super Bowl XLVI, Sri Lankan-English rapper-singer M.I.A. flipped the bird while mouthing "I don't give a [expletive]."

The NFL has been trying to wash her mouth out with soap ever since.

The league initiated legal proceedings against the singer one month after the performance and demanded $1.5 million from her for breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation.

Nearly 18 months later, the 38-year-old has been waging a "secret legal war" with the NFL over what happened during the halftime show.

Last week, league lawyers continued their push to have her held liable for her actions on summary judgment before moving to a trial for damages.

As M.I.A. wages her side of the war, she plans to launch a public campaign against the football league. The "Paper Planes" star has used her influence before to spotlight human rights abuses in South Asia.

"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, while ignoring the genocide occurring in her home country and several other countries, topics she frequently speaks to," said her lawyer, Howard King.

She and King had hoped to settle the case privately after it was clear that neither NBC nor the FCC took action on the matter. Since the NFL is still pursuing action, M.I.A. is getting ready for her own response.

"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," King said.

An NFL spokesman did not comment on the matter, save for saying that "any monetary damages for her actions would have been donated to charity."

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