Robbie Williams Flashes a Middle Finger at a Camera During World Cup Opening Performance
While singing his song "Rock DJ" ahead of the opening match of the World Cup on Thursday, Robbie Williams looked into a camera and raised his middle finger
U.K. singer Robbie Williams has caused controversy after flipping off the camera during his latest performance.
While singing his song “Rock DJ” ahead of the opening match of the World Cup at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday, Williams, 44, looked directly into a camera and raised his middle finger.
In a clip of the incident shared online, Williams can be heard singing the words, “But I did this for free,” immediately before making the lewd gesture. Those lyrics appear to have been added specifically for the performance, as they do not appear in the original song.
While the singer has not addressed the incident publicly, ahead of the performance he did share that he was “very excited” to be returning to Russia to perform at the game. “Tune in early on Thursday for an unforgettable show,” he added.
Following the performance, Fox, the television network that aired the performance in the United States, issued an apology via The Hollywood Reporter: “The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony was a newsworthy event produced by a third party and carried live on Fox. As it was broadcast live, we did not know what would happen during Robbie Williams’ performance and we apologize.”
A rep for Williams did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a singer has given the one-finger salute during a live sporting performance.
During Madonna‘s Super Bowl halftime performance in 2012, M.I.A. flipped off the camera during the performance, eluding the NBC censors by less than a second.
The NFL went on to sue the singer for $16.6 million, claiming that her action was a breach of contract that tarnished the league’s reputation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
M.I.A. and the NFL eventually reached a confidential settlement in 2014.