Posted Sep 25, 2013 02:09 pm CDT
The rapper and singer M.I.A. is questioning the National Football League’s definition of offensive in a video rebuttal to its $1.5 million arbitration complaint over her middle-finger gesture during a Superbowl performance.
The NFL never paid M.I.A. to perform at the February 2012 Superbowl, but the league claims the artist breached her contract and tarnished its goodwill by flipping the bird, according to a story published last week by the Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq. blog.
The NFL says in arbitration documents that the “offensive gesture” amounted to a “flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl,” Hollywood, Esq. says.
Now M.I.A. calls the NFL action “completely ridiculous” in a video rebuttal posted on YouTube, the New York Daily News reports. She flips the bird once again in the video and says the NFL is “scapegoating me into figuring out what is the goal post of what’s offensive in America.”
M.I.A. says on the video that young high-school cheerleaders who performed at the halftime show were more offensive than her middle finger. The cheerleaders were under 16 and their routine was “sexually provocative,” she maintains. The NFL wants M.I.A. to say “it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female” but not to “display empowerment, female empowerment through being punk rock,” she says.