M.I.A. Sparks Controversy by Giving the Super Bowl the Finger

M.I.A. Sparks Controversy by Giving the Super Bowl the Finger
Here we go again. Just like Janet Jackson did in 2004, M.I.A. has sparked controversy thanks to some decidedly un-family friendly shenanigans during the Super Bowl halftime show. Her offence? Giving the camera the finger (yes, the middle one).

The singer made a relatively brief cameo during Madonna's new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'," taking the stage alongside Nicki Minaj to perform a pompom-waving cheerleader routine. M.I.A. supposedly sang, "I'mma say this once, yeah, I don't give a shhh." And although it appears as if her verbal expletive was censored, that didn't stop her from flipping the camera the bird.

As the Associated Press reports, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said after the on-air incident, "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans."

NBC attempted to blur the finger, but since it was going live, they didn't cut away from M.I.A. in time to stop the at-home audience from clearly seeing the gesture. "The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," said NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."

Unsurprisingly, watchdog group the Parents Television Council has already denounced the incident and blamed just about everyone involved.

"NBC fumbled and the NFL lied because a performer known as M.I.A. felt it necessary to flip off millions of families," wrote PTC president Tim Winter in a statement on the group's website. "It is unfortunate that a spectacular sporting event was overshadowed once again by broadcasting the selfish acts of a desperate performer. Last week the NFL formally told the PTC -- and the American public -- that the Super Bowl halftime show would be 'appropriate.' Most families would agree that the middle finger aimed directly at them is not appropriate, especially during the most-watched television event of the year."

He continued, "M.I.A. used a middle finger shamelessly to bring controversial attention to herself, while effectively telling an audience filled with children, 'F--- you.'"

M.I.A. has yet to speak out on the matter. But for now, watch the halftime show below.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether "Fingergate" will have the same repercussions as Jackson's "Nipplegate."

UPDATE: As TMZ reports, M.I.A. may be held financially responsible for flipping her bird. Apparently, she signed a contract with the NFL stating, "M.I.A. agreed to indemnify the NFL for any money it might be forced to pay if the FCC comes down on the Peacock Network [NBC]."