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A Finger Malfunction: Complaints Over M.I.A.’s Halftime Show Flip Off

Eight years after the infamous Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction,” the Super Bowl halftime show is again the source of ire when M.I.A. was caught flashing her middle finger.

Such “fleeting expletitives” are the source of the broadcast networks’ constitutional challenge of the FCC’s authority to police indecent content, and a decision is expected soon from the Supreme Court.

To the Parents Television Council, which has been leading the fight against indecent material on TV, it is another example of why rules need to be in place. The said in a statement, “NBC fumbled and the NFL lied because a performer known as M.I.A. felt it necessary to flip off millions of families. It is unfortunate that a spectacular sporting event was overshadowed once again by broadcasting the selfish acts of a desperate performer.”

They added, “The mechanism NBC had in place to catch this type of material completely failed, and the network cannot say it was caught off guard. It has been eight years since the Janet Jackson striptease, and both NBC and the NFL knew full well what might happen. They chose a lineup full of performers who have based their careers on shock, profanity and titillation. Instead of preventing indecent material, they enabled it. M.I.A. used a middle finger shamelessly to bring controversial attention to herself, while effectively telling an audience filled with children, ‘F’ you.”

Their complete statement is here.

The FCC has a huge backlog of complaints, but it has largely been awaiting guidance from the courts before taking any action on how to proceed.

NBC issued an apology.

The flashing of the bird was about a half second, which you can see below.

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