With Madonna’s storied history of stirring controversy through her edgy videos and stage shows, it was hard to believe that an extravagant Super Bowl halftime show featuring the pop icon would go down without any issue.
Surprisingly, during the opulent halftime show on Sunday, it wasn’t the Material Girl who played the role of troublemaker. Instead it was her guest performer, British rapper M.I.A., who stuck her middle finger in the proverbial pot and stirred up the controversy.
While performing her verse on Madonna’s new single, “Give Me All Your Luvin,” M.I.A. extended her middle finger in the air as she rapped a barely disguised expletive, “I don’t give a (expletive).” NBC Network was late on its attempt to blur the obscene gesture during the live performance.
The network joined the NFL in issuing a public apology to viewers following the end of the game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said show producers were unaware of what M.I.A. had in mind; it wasn’t something she did during rehearsals.
"The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans," McCarthy said.
M.I.A., who famously performed while nine months pregnant at the 2009 Grammy Awards, has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident. The U.K. rapper, best known for her 2007 hit song “Paper Planes,” joined Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green and LMFAO as Madonna’s special guest during the high-powered show.
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(Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
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