During the halftime show performance, M.I.A. made a cameo on ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’, during which she stuck her middle finger up at the camera. A month later, the NFL filed a $1.5 million (£1.07m) arbitration claim against her, claiming it was a breach of contract and tarnished the organisation’s “goodwill and reputation”. In March 2014, they reportedly added another $15 million (£10.7m) to the claim.
Speaking to Huck, the musician said the lawsuit “activated so many people to come after me on so many different levels” and that, in terms of “racism and sexism”, the situation showed “the cracks in everyone I knew”. “I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay-Z was managing me,” she said. “The lawsuit was so ridiculous, it proposed that they would keep one hundred percent of my earnings for the rest of my life if I ever earned more than $2 million (£1.4m).”
“Jay-Z was like, ‘You should sign that shit,’ and I was like, ‘No,'” she continued. “A middle finger, it’s like get a fucking grip. People were like, ‘Oh you’re lucky you’re not in jail, give up all your profit, be this slave for the rest of your life.'”
In August 2014, it was reported that M.I.A. had settled with the NFL. No details on the terms of the settlement were released by either party.
The Federal Communications Commission received a total of 222 complaints about the Super Bowl broadcast in 2012. Afterwards, the NFL and broadcaster NBC apologised, with the former writing in a statement: “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologise to our fans.”