Both NBC and the NFL issued apologies to viewers of the 2/5/12 broadcast of the Super Bowl halftime show starring Madonna. It was not Madonna, but a featured performer, who went overboard this time – an obscene gesture from M.I.A. slipped into the broadcast.
M.I.A also appeared to mouth an expletive while engaging in the tasteless finger flip.
NBC’s Christopher McCloskey said, “We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during halftime. It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy also weighed in, saying, “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans.”
It was the first such incident since the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction back in 2004. The FCC levied a $550K fine against CBS that time, which failed to hold up in court.
The current incident would seemingly fall under the fleeting expletive category, which is currently under review in the Supreme Court. The FCC’s had begun enforcing a new policy on fleeting expletives in the aftermath of the Jackson incident, and the policy was overturned at the appellate level.
RBR-TVBR observation: This reporter is now two-for-two: We were watching this show, and the one featuring Janet Jackson. And on both occasions, the indecent moment came and went without us noticing it at all.
We have to wonder if the times have already changed. The Jackson incident set off an explosive barrage of denunciations and led to multiple congressional hearings. That does not seem to be happening this time around — we’ve seen one obligatory comment from the Parents Television Council and not much else. But stay tuned…