M.I.A. has released a video statement as she launches her battle against National Football League bosses over her middle finger gesture at the 2012 Super Bowl.
Executives at the NFL began legal proceedings against the Paper Planes hitmaker in March 2012, for flipping off cameras during her half-time show appearance alongside Madonna. They demanded she pay $1.5 million for breaching her performance contract.
They filed legal papers at the American Arbitration Association, accusing M.I.A. of “a flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl.”
M.I.A. is now fighting back, insisting it is “ridiculous” for the NFL executives and sports fans offended by her middle finger salute to “devote such furor to this incident while ignoring the genocide occurring in her home country (Sri Lanka) and several other countries.”
Last week, her lawyer, Howard King, said, “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.”
And now, M.I.A. is speaking for herself, releasing a message Monday via YouTube.
She says, “The NFL thing is completely ridiculous. It’s been making me laugh for a while but now it’s so boring I don’t even laugh anymore.
“The precise moment in question… has my middle finger in the foreground and if you find the larger picture, where it zooms out, there is a row background scenery (sic) of 10, 15 cheerleaders, young black females that Madonna got from a local high school … They were all under 16.
“If you look at them, they’re wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrust in the air, legs wide open in this very sexually provocative position.
“So now they’ve (NFL bosses) scapegoated me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Is my finger offensive, or is an underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience … It’s a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of a powerful corporation d–k shaking; they want me on my knees and to say sorry, so they can slap me on the wrist.”