The NFL wants M.I.A to hand over an astonishing $16.6 million after she quickly flashed her middle finger during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show more than two years ago, but the British songstress says the league is just trying to “bully” her.
Most people were not even aware that M.I.A. flashed her middle finger at any point throughout the entire performance, but the NFL still wants the singer to pay a fine that is far greater than what CBS was fined after singer Janet Jackson’s infamous live “nip slip.”
M.I.A’s middle finger mishap barely attracted over 200 complaints, while Jackson’s nipplegate scandal ten years ago, drew well over 500,000.
CBS was charged a mere $550,000 for the “nip slip,” which is a stark contrast to M.I.A’s multimillion dollar lawsuit.
The $16.6 million total of the fine is composed of what the NFL would have made from advertisers during the performance, unspecified damages to the league’s reputation, and compensation for the exposure M.I.A received.
“The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic,” M.I.A.’s legal team fired back at the NFL in response papers on Friday.
M.I.A also said that the “continued pursuit of this proceeding is transparently an exercise by the NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of respondents for daring to challenge NFL.”
M.I.A’s defense is that the NFL is demanding an excessive amount to compensate for the finger flash, and after a recent statement from the former FCC chairman about Jackson’s nipplegate, her defense just got much stronger.
Nearly 10 years after Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, former FCC chairman Michael Powell spoke to VIBE in January about how he felt it was handled.
“I personally thought that was really unfair,” Powell said. “It all turned into being about her. In reality, if you slow the thing down, it’s Justin[Timberlake] ripping off her breastplate.”
He went on to say that he personally felt that everyone, including the FCC, overreacted.
“I think we’ve been removed from this long enough for me to tell you that I had to put my best version of outrage on that I could put on,” he added. “Look, I think it was dumb to happen, and they knew the rules and were flirting with them, and my job is to enforce the rules, but, you know, really? This is what we’re gonna do?”
Many Twitter users and media outlets are asking the NFL that very same question, even as the league is sticking to their $16.6 million lawsuit against M.I.A.