I don’t usually comment on news that isn’t related to the release of a new single/album/music video. And this story is all over the internets at the moment. But despite the stories nasty overtones the mental image it conjures up is AMAZING.
From Drowned in Sound:
‘Word has reached DiS that Bloc Party (pictured) vocalist Kele Okereke was subjected to a racist attack at the weekend, by former Sex Pistols screamer John ‘Johnny Rotten’ Lydon and members of the one-time punk hero’s entourage.
Okereke was attacked at the Summercase Festival in Barcelona on Saturday night; he was left shaken and with bruising to his face, cuts on his face and body, and a burst lip.
The attack, according to reports, was unprovoked. A witness commented that Lydon and company were at the festival “acting like a gang of racist thugs”.
Trouble flared when Okereke asked Lydon backstage at the festival if he’d ever consider reforming Public Image Ltd, as the Bloc Party singer is a big fan of the seminal post-punk outfit fronted by Lydon. The former I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here contestant grew aggressive, with his party suggesting that Okereke had a “black attitude”, and that was a problem in some way.
The story goes that then Okereke was punched and kicked by Lydon’s crew, albeit not Lydon himself, while Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs and Yannis Philippakis of Foals attempted to fend off the attackers. Security broke up the fight and Spanish police were duly informed. Okereke made a statement to UK police once home.
Over 50 people witnessed the Barcelona attack – alongside members of Foals and Kaiser Chiefs were Mystery Jets, Neon Neon and Har Mar Superstar, all of whom saw what unfolded. Of the attack, Okereke has stated:
“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.” ‘
Wow! Kaiser Chiefs, Foals and Bloc Party vs The Sex Pistols. Fight!
As much of an Obnoxious prick John Lydon probably is; I find it hard to imagine him being a racist. Especially considering his well publicised support of Reggae and Dub and his repeated distaste of discrimination.
It’s hard to discern what would be meant by “Black Attitude”. And it’s important to stress that it was his entourage and not him that attacked Kele Okereke.
Since the story broke Lydon has issued a rebuttal of Kele’s claims, which doesn’t exactly extinguish the speculation.
From The Guardian:
“I feel very sorry for a man that needs to lie about what was a perfect evening.” In Lydon’s version of events, the Sex Pistols singer claims that, “trouble was brought us, resulting in those causing the trouble being physically removed by festival security”. He added: “If they need publicity so badly this is the allegation universe they run into.”
Referring to his alter-ego in the third person, Lydon says: “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.”
His only reference to accusations that Kele Okereke was the victim of a racially motivated assault is to say: “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.”
Later, he apparently directs a comment to Okereke: “Grow up and learn to be a true man”, before adding “It’s a shame that the wonderful world of the media is riddled with nonsense like this”
The most probable occurance of all this is not Lydon being a racist cunt or Kele being a disrespectful fucker. But rather Lydon’s bodyguards/entourage being a bunch of over zealous thugs.