M.I.A.'s NFL Contract: Rapper Pays Any FCC Fines

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on February 07, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Guess what, M.I.A.? A FCC fine may be all yours if the NFL or NBC get fined for your middle finger during halftime. It seems that liability for M.I.A.'s NBC middle finger snafu may have been addressed in her contract. The NFL reportedly had her sign a contract that mentions FCC fines.

The agreement explicitly stated that she would take responsibility for any FCC-related fines resulting from her on-screen behavior.

M.I.A. took the stage alongside pop icon Madonna and rapper Nicki Minaj during the Super Bowl's halftime show.

Madonna performed a few of her former hits, including "Vogue." She then turned to her new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'," which features M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. The two artists sang with Madonna.

But M.I.A. decided to go a little risqué. She "stole" the show with an obscene gesture, and nearly sang an offensive word. NBC was unable to block it. M.I.A.'s middle finger was subsequently broadcast nationwide.

M.I.A. may end up paying thousands of dollars. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's breast-baring debacle cost CBS $550,000 in fines. The fine was later thrown out by an appeals court.

The new contract provision seems to have been born out of "Nipplegate." Most likely, neither the NFL nor NBC wanted to take the hit for any stars that decided to go off-script.

And maybe that was prudent. Some organizations, including the Parents Television Council, are not pleased with M.I.A.'s performance. They likened her controversial gesture as "the selfish acts of a desperate performer."

Ouch. Those statements might actually hurt M.I.A. as much as an FCC fine. So far no apologies have come from M.I.A., but NBC has been quick to jump on the "sorry" bandwagon. A network spokesman said it was an inappropriate gesture that their system was unable to catch.

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