Fox Sports issues apology after Robbie Williams' offensive gesture to TV cameras during World Cup opening ceremony
A major US broadcaster has apologised to viewers over Robbie Williams's one-finger salute.
The former Take That singer marred what had been a vintage performance of his greatest hits during the World Cup's opening ceremony by showing his middle finger to the camera.
Williams made the offensive gesture during his last song, Rock DJ, prompting viewers in the UK and abroad to complain.
Kiran Manral wrote on Twitter: "Robbie Williams flipped the middle finger at an audience of billions. Now to sit down and explain to the offspring why he's not to do the same to even an audience of one."
Robbie Williams telling the world that he's performing for free and not taking FIFA money for the performance. A gesture almost as bold as the jacket. pic.twitter.com/GQfktzgOBE— Adam Smith (@noneconomical) June 14, 2018
Sadaf Sayeed tweeted "All this in a #FIFAWorldCup opening ceremony watched by million of kids at home. Real classy Robbie".
A spokesman for the Fox network told the Hollywood Reporter that it 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's performance and we apologise," the broadcaster said.
Williams was the star turn of a colourful, 15-minute performance which featured a duet of Angels with Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, lots of dancers and Brazilian football star Ronaldo.
He opened with Let Me Entertain You and Feel, which means he decided not to perform Party Like A Russian, the song which lampoons oligarchs.
Despite his ill-mannered sign-off, the Russian crowd appeared to love the 44-year-old's showmanship and many in the crowd knew the lyrics.