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M.I.A. has weighed in on her legal battle with the NFL over her raised middle finger during the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show, which The Hollywood Reporter revealed exclusively last week.
In a YouTube video posted on Monday, the rapper dismisses the legal proceedings, in which the NFL is demanding $1.5 million for allegedly breaching her performance contract and tarnishing the league’s good will and reputation, calling it “completely ridiculous” and “a massive waste of time … [and] money.”
“It’s been making me laugh for a while but now it’s so boring, I don’t even laugh anymore,” she says.
M.I.A. also takes issue with why the league is going after her, when she claims there were other offensive gestures occurring around her.
She notes that when she raised her middle finger, there were 10-15 cheerleaders dancing provocatively, all under the age of 16, which Madonna got from a local high school in Indianapolis.
“If you look at them, they’re wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrusted in the air, legs wide open, in this very sexually provocative position,” M.I.A. explains. “So, now they’ve scapegoated me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America, like is my finger offensive? Or is an underage black girl, with her legs wide open, more offensive to the family audience?”
She goes on to say that the NFL’s suit is asking her to condone that dancing by going after her “punk rock gesture.”
“They want me [to get] on my knees and say, ‘Sorry,’ so they can slap me on my wrist and basically say it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female [but not] to display female empowerment through being punk rock.”
M.I.A.’s lawyer told THR last week that his client planned to launch a public war on the NFL.
“She is going to go public with an explanation of how ridiculous it was for the NFL and its fans to devote such furor to this incident, while ignoring the genocide occurring in her home country and several other countries, topics she frequently speaks to,” her lawyer Howard King said.
King added that the rapper hoped to settle the case privately.
In its arbitration complaint, the NFL says, “This dispute concerns a blatant, intentional and calculated attempt by M.I.A., a musical artist, to garner worldwide publicity and attention for herself by making an offensive gesture to the cameras during the Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show performance.”
M.I.A.’s lawyer also wants her fans to help in her fight.
King told THR, “We encourage people to submit their examples of how the actions of the NFL, its stars, coaches, advertisers, broadcasters, team doctors and owners have damaged or destroyed any vestiges of any reputation for wholesomeness ever enjoyed by the NFL.”
“These submissions, which we plan to use to bolster M.I.A’s defense, will help balance the playing field, as they very well could eliminate the burden of undertaking a formal survey of the history of unwholesome behavior, can be made to the M.I.A defense team by e-mail to NFL@khpblaw.com,” King said.
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