Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. flashed her middle finger–to offend or signify her one U.S. hit, she has never explained–during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. The NFL has been quietly pursuing restitution ever since.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the league’s initial claim for $1.5 million in restitution has expanded more than tenfold to demand essentially a dime for every viewer M.I.A. flipped the bird to. “The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic,” the rapper’s legal team responded in court papers. The attorneys maintain that “this proceeding is transparently an exercise by the NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of Respondents for daring to challenge [the] NFL.”
The singer’s response to the league’s financial claims invoked the Richie Incognito bullying scandal and the league settlement regarding the concussion lawsuit brought by former players. The lawyers also brought up past instances of racy halftime shows, which seem more germane to this case.
Fool me once with a wardrobe malfunction, shame on you. Fool me twice with a wardrobe malfunction and a middle finger, shame on me. That’s the basic argument. Should the NFL wish to pursue more wholesome halftime entertainment next year in Arizona, one of their past performers would surely be willing to play for the league’s fee of free and incapable of offending anything but musical tastes….