Super Bowl fallout: Will M.I.A.'s middle finger draw FCC fine?


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Madonna kept her promise -- there was no wardrobe malfunction during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. But America was shown the bird: British rapper M.I.A. gave the nation the middle finger during her solo performance.

Why? Her Twitter feed has been silent on the matter. But there’s a bigger question afoot: Will NBC face a fine like CBS did after Janet Jackson’s infamous slip during the 2004 Super Bowl hosted in Houston, Texas?


The nation howled, as parents tried to explain to children why Justin Timberlake ripped off Jackson’s top...exposing a nipple encased in a sun-themed shield.

It became known as Nipplegate, and the flood of viewer complaints led the Federal Communications Commission to levy a record $550,000 fine against CBS, which aired the Super Bowl that year.

A phone call to the FCC was not returned by the time this story was posted online.

The NFL and NBC quickly apologized for the gesture and insisted that it was not a planned part of the show. Producers tried to blur the screen to cover it up, but it was too little too late.

In front of millions of viewers, M.I.A. flipped the bird and appeared to sing, “I don’t give a...’ although it was hard to hear what she said. (Judge for yourself: It happens at about 7:50 minutes into the above video.)

From the NFL:

‘The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,’ said Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, told the Associated Press.

From NBC:

‘The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show,’ NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey told the news service. ‘Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.’


Super Bowl ads: Yawn

Eli Manning, Giants don’t let Super Bowl slip through fingers

Super Bowl: Madonna shines, M.I.A. shocks, Birmingham shocks

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch