Among the 9,000 bizarrely compelling things that happened during Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show (slacklining underpants guy, Cee-Lo’s scene stealing, “WORLD PEACE”), M.I.A. flipped the bird on national television.
Following the incident, both the NFL and NBC issued apologies. The NFL blamed NBC. “There was a failure in NBC’s delay system. The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans,” the league said. An NBC spokesperson said their monitoring system tried to blur M.I.A.’s “spontaneous” gesture, but wasn’t quick enough. The network fired back at the NFL in a revised version of their initial press statement, saying, “The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show.”