Published On: Mon, Feb 6th, 2012

Move over Janet Jackson, Rapper M.I.A. gives finger, angers Super Bowl censors


Eight years after Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” the Super Bowl half-time show has produced another controversy. During tonight’s show, headlined by Madonna, one of the guest singers, British rapper M.I.A., gave viewers the finger directly into the camera, and NBC’s censors weren’t fast enough to obscure it.

The network, which carries the Super Bowl this year, attempted to blur the gesture but was late by almost a second.

“We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during halftime,” the network’s spokesperson said. “It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late.”

NBC also noted that it is the NFL and not the network that hires and produces the half-time show.

NFL used srronger language in its statement, putting the blame for the accident squarely on its broadcast partner.

“There was a failure in NBC’s delay system,” the league said. “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans.” M.I.A., who according to accounts was PG during rehearsals, also seemed to drop an expletive (“I don’t give a s**t”) during the performance, but it wasn’t clearly audible.

The incident is bound to bring back into the spotlight the “fleeting expletive” debate, which reached all the way to the Supreme Court. It may trigger a prolonged legal battle for the NBC stations — the Janet Jackson case was finally put to rest a couple of months ago after multiple rounds through the court system.

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