It’s not very often that the interests of the independent music world intersect with those of the National Football League, but ever since M.I.A. flipped the bird during 2012’s Super Bowl halftime show, the singer has been locked in the most intense lawsuit with the NFL.
When the NFL first filed the lawsuit in March 2012, they only wanted $1.5 million from the British/Sri Lankan artist, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, that amount has now been bumped up by $15.1 million dollars, bringing the total to a cool $16.6 million.
We think this means her middle finger is officially the most expensive bird to ever be flipped.
The NFL claims that the additional amount is meant to be “restitution” for the additional attention M.I.A. received following the incident and reflects “what advertisers would have paid for ads during this time.”
Never one to back down (and good for her!), M.I.A. has long been outspoken about the ordeal and offered some semi-weird explanations for her behavior, but last Friday, she lodged a very formal complaint, calling the NFL on their hypocrisy. In her rebuttal, M.I.A. cites the many disturbers of the peace that have come before her, like crotch-grabbing Michael Jackson, guitar-stroking Prince and her provocative co-performer, Madonna, as well as NFL players like Richie Incognito, the Miami Dolphins’ in-house bully and overall poor excuse for a human being. Finally (and most effectively) M.I.A. compares the $16.6 million lawsuit to the recent proposal to level nothing more than a 15-yard penalty against players who use the N-word on the field and points out that her punishment is much more extreme.
There’s a lot more legalese and fingerpointing involved, but we agree with the singer that, at this point, the NFL just wants to make an example out of her. In fact, the whole thing seems eerily similar to 2004’s Nipplegate wherein Janet Jackson was blacklisted by media outlets while Justin Timberlake’s success continued (and still continues) uninterrupted.
$1.5 million? Excessive, but doable. $16.6 million? Witchhunt.
Follow Nikita Richardson on Twitter @nikitarbk