The NFL has raised its lawsuit demand against M.I.A. to $16.6 million, accusing her of "profane behavior" for flipping off the bird during a 2012 Super Bowl halftime performance.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the league filed new paperwork Friday (March 14), padding its original $1.5 million suit with an extra $15.1 million in "restitution." The figure was calculated based on the amount the media exposure was worth due to the 167 million viewers tuning in at the time.
In the latest court documents, the NFL cites M.I.A. for "profane, bawdy, lascivious, demeaning and/or unacceptable behavior." Even though she wasn't paid and was a special guest of headliner Madonna, the British performer falls in the category of "performers chosen and endorsed by the NFL to perform in its halftime shows."
M.I.A.'s lawyer, Howard King, countered with an arbitration filing on behalf of his client. The paperwork accuses the NFL of green lighting behavior far more offensive than her middle finger, like Michael Jackson grabbing his crotch while performing "Billy Jean" in 1993. "This was the NFL's first foray into salacious performances in their Halftime Shows," the document reads. "Discovery will demonstrate that [the] NFL was fully aware that Jackson was going to engage in such 'genitalia adjustments' in his performance."
The King of Pop's set was a ratings bonanza, and influenced the Super Bowl to land more big names including Prince in 2007, when he opened by "caressing the neck of his trademark guitar as if stroking an erect oversized phallus in a manner reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix," the document continues.
Madonna was also named in the arbitration for featuring "possibly" underage woman "lewdly" thrusting "their elevated pelvic areas in a manner unmistakably evocative of sexual acts," in reference to the college marching band that also joined her for the halftime show.
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(Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)