One might reasonably have expected controversy when the National Football League invited Madonna to play the Super Bowl halftime show in 2012. Surprisingly, the controversy didn’t involve Madonna herself. The problem was that English-Sri Lankan rapper-singer M.I.A., a featured performer during Madonna’s set, gave the cameras the middle-finger salute during her solo spot.
Neither NBC or the FCC took action against M.I.A. for the gesture, but The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the NFL has been waging a legal battle against her for well more than a year. The league claims M.I.A. intentionally breached an agreement to keep her performance in line with the “goodwill and reputation” of the NFL. The rapper-singer scoffed via YouTube, noting Madonna’s provocative chorus of cheerleaders during the performance. “Is my finger offensive? Or is an underage black girl, with her legs wide open, more offensive to the family audience?” The NFL is seeking $1.5 million. — Richard Binder
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged the founder of a Christian video game maker and its consultant on September 25 with inflating revenues by 1,300 percent in a single year. Troy Lyndon of Left Behind Games Inc. allegedly issued 2 billion shares of stock to the consultant, who then sold them and gave millions of dollars in proceeds to the financially struggling company. The consultant used millions more to buy old games, most of which he donated but recorded as revenue increases, and to buy condos in Hawaii and California. Lyndon developed the games, which include Left Behind 3 Rise of the Antichrist, based on the popular Left Behind book series. According to the SEC, however, the real ones left behind are the company’s employees, who were let go in 2011 when the company closed its doors. — Amanda Bronstad
State Farm didn’t live up to its “good neighbor” slogan when it called a car accident case opponent’s argument “ridiculous.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit chided the insurance company for using such language, saying civility and “the near-certainty that overstatement will only push the reader away” should discourage such hyperbole. The court ruled the plaintiff was an “occupant” of the insured’s vehicle that struck her and entitled to compensation. — Sheri Qualters