Super Bowl

Bridgestone Blames M.I.A., Not NFL or NBC, for Super Bowl Controversy

Celebrity Responsible for 'Offensive and Very Unfortunate' Halftime Incident

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'What happened is the responsibility of M.I.A.,' Bridgestone said.
'What happened is the responsibility of M.I.A.,' Bridgestone said. Credit: NBC

Don't look for Bridgestone Americas to sponsor M.I.A.'s next concert tour.

A spokesman for the tire manufacturer, which has been the sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show since 2008, said the company believed the celebrity rapper was to blame for a brewing controversy that began during Madonna's halftime performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

M.I.A., working as a guest during Madonna's halftime concert, raised her middle finger on screen during a moment of the program and was also heard uttering the word "shit." NBC's delay system did not function as expected, and viewers were able to see some of the action.

"What happened is the responsibility of M.I.A., and what happened during the show was, in our view, offensive and very unfortunate," said Dan MacDonald, VP-community and corporate relations for Bridgestone Americas.

"We hold the artist responsible," he added.

Bridgestone has received around 20 emails of complaint, said Mr. MacDonald, a smaller amount than it has in years when the halftime show featured relatively controversy-free musicians.

Bridgestone maintains a long-term sponsorship deal with the NFL, he said, which extends into the 2014-2015 season. Under the specifics of that pact, Bridgestone could return to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show again, he said.

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