NBC and the NFL apologized for the singer's gesture during Madonna's big performance

By People Staff
February 06, 2012 09:15 AM
Christopher Polk/Getty

Call it a finger malfunction?

Madonna was supposed to be the center of attention during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday, but the Queen of Pop was upstaged by her collaborator M.I.A., who flipped off the camera at one point during the performance, prompting swift apologies from the NFL and NBC.

“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,” said Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, according to the Associated Press.

The action eluded the NBC censors by less than a second, as viewers at home clearly saw M.I.A.’s middle finger raised, followed by a brief blurring of part of the stage.

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“Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers,” NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey told the AP.

McCarthy said the NFL, which produced the halftime show, was blindsided by the gesture and that M.I.A. had not indicated during rehearsals that she would be doing anything untoward.

There were no reports of fines for either organization as of Monday morning, unlike when CBS was hit with a $550,000 fine by the Federal Communications Commission after Janet Jackson‘s notorious nipple-exposing "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004. The fine was later thrown out.

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