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Johnny Rotten: racism charges "lies"

Speaking candidly on BBC1's The One Show, John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, denounced the press for pegging him a racist following his backstage beatdown of Bloc Party's Kele Okereke at the Summercase fest in Barcelona:

"There's been a hell of a lot of 'freedom of the press', shall we say, where they’ve run wild, absolutely atrocious, really hurtful stories."

"My grandchildren are Jamaican," he added. "It's an absolute offence to them and me when I read stories like that, that are allowed to go to print absolutely unfounded."

He explained: "And [the newspapers] have the liberty to take liberties with a man like me and call me racist when my entire life has proved exactly the opposite."

It should be noted that Lydon is right to point out his liberal record. He was one of the leading figures in the Rock against Racism movement at the same time that David Bowie and Eric Clapton were going far to the right with their anti-immigration policies. Of course, that doesn't mean he hasn't become a racist in his old age, but keep in mind the only time issue of race that was brought to the fight was when Lydon said he has a "black attitude."


The attack was certainly tasteless and spiteful. But was it racist? And when was Lydon ever not tasteless and spiteful? It also should be noted that Okereke has a long history of playing the race card. Something tells me that if The Fall had released Hex Enduction Hour today, Mark E. Smith would be branded a racist rather than a punk hero for his opening line, "Where are all the obligatory niggers?/ Hey there fuck face, hey there, fuck face."



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Bloc Party
John Lydon
Sex Pistols

"It should be noted that Lydon is right to point out his liberal record."

"It also should be noted that Okereke has a long history of playing the race card."

Which story are we going with, folks? I think it really just came down to this: which was the more popular stance--to defend an aged punk-rocker or the younger indie-rocker? This whole story was the result of the pathetic, "indie rock" solidarity pact between fellow, inclined bloggers and musicians alike.


the whole thing sounded fishy to me in the first place.

not sure what you're railing against... it doesn't seem like anyone is taking sides, as much as reporting on a newsworthy event as it develops

Bloggy McDickerson

if i remember correctly, mark e. smith was branded a racist for a number of years for that line. and i'm not saying it's not true, but this is the first instance i've read where okereke is "playing the race card." plus, i'd like to think he has a little more integrity than that, but if you can provide another example, i'd appreciate it.

douglas martin

We whites are becoming extinct race but still someones are inproperly finding white racism although the modern corrupted world and media is nothing but anti-white genocidial Machine.


^^^ Wow. Skinheads can't spell or use proper grammar and punctuation. Why am I not surprised? "Someones are inproperly"... that's gold. Thanks for making me wish I wasn't white, you neo-nazi Ralph Wiggam.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/FMH/5241619.gif FMH

We all know punk rockers are ignorant racist blue-collar trash(at 55,I re-
member John Lydon in his "Johnny Rotten" persona in the Sex Pistols),so
should we be surprised that he engaged in a racist attack on a black mu-
sician?-who,incidentally,I hope kicked John-Boy's a**!!!!


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