The NFL has been on the warpath against M.I.A. ever since her controversial bird-flipping at the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime show. But now, in a new interview on NPR, M.I.A. claims that she actually made a gesture that is sacred in her native culture. Via Stereogum:

So you were not giving America the middle finger? This was the Matangi symbol?

M.I.A.: Yes. Do you like that? (Laughing) It’s good, isn’t it?

Something tells me that there might have been another meaning in that.

M.I.A.: It’s cultural! In my country, it’s godly. OK?

Is the NFL believing that? I know they’re suing you.

M.I.A.: Of course the NFL is not believing that, because the NFL does not believe in any other culture outside of the NFL. But it’s true; you can Wikipedia it. You can just say “Matangi” and “mudra,” and you’ll see it’s the middle finger.

Something tells us that the well-traveled avant-popstar knew exactly what she was doing, but dammit if she doesn’t know how to cover her ass.

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