Williams was performing his song “Rock DJ” as part of the opening ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia when he made the gesture directly into the camera on live television.
Fox is apologizing after the opening ceremony of the World Cup on Thursday featured U.K. singer Robbie Williams gesturing with his middle finger.
Williams was performing his song “Rock DJ” as part of the opening festivities at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow before the first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia when he made the gesture directly into the camera on live television.
In a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox said, “The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony was a newsworthy event produced by a third party and carried live on FOX. As it was broadcast live, we did not know what would happen during Robbie Williams’ performance and we apologize.”
Williams’ performance was part of a short, 20-minute opening ceremony, which also featured dozens of dancers, flame-throwing machines and young women wearing skirts stylized as flags of the World Cup’s 32 participating teams. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech afterwards, and stayed to watch the game, in which the Russian team routed the Saudi Arabian team 5-0. Roughly 78,000 people showed up at Luzhniki for the game.
The World Cup, hosted by Russia for the first time ever, is set to run in the country’s 11 cities through July 15.
Singer Robbie Williams just gave everyone the finger during #WorldCup opening ceremony. pic.twitter.com/JVviURXtHi
— John Latimer (@JohnMLatimer) June 14, 2018