The UK press is buzzing about a confrontation between Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon and Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke at Barcelona's Summercase Festival. Members of Foals and Kaiser Chiefs were also reportedly involved. A statement from Bloc Party's management states that Okereke approached Lydon backstage and inquired about a reunion of his influential post-Pistols act Public Image Ltd. when:
The Sex Pistols singer became intimidating and aggressive while his entourage responded with a racist tirade including the statement, 'your problem is your black attitude.' Kele was then set upon by three members of Lydon's crew who punched him in the face and head as well as attacking people who tried to protect Kele from the assault including Yannis Philippakis from Foals and Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson. The incident was broken up by festival security and was later reported to Spanish police. Kele also reported the incident to police in the UK after returning from Spain.
It's not an issue of the physical assault, even though it was an unprovoked attack, it is the fact that race was brought into the matter so readily. Someone as respected and as intelligent as Lydon should know better than to bring race into the equation, or socialise with and encourage those who hold such narrow-minded attitudes. I am disappointed that someone I held with such high regard turns out to be such a bigot.
Lydon's own statement disputes the claims of racism:
After the show John Rotten and management remained behind to sign autographs, which we did for four solid hours without incident and had a great time talking to other Spanish bands, this seems to have sparked jealousy in certain bands. We are in the middle of a wonderful tour, after 30 years we are achieving a true unity in our audience. They are multi-varied, all ages, all races, creeds and colours. When you are at a festival with bands who are jealous fools, lies and confusion usually follow.