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John Lydon rips into Danny Boyle over Sex Pistols’ TV series court case

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John Lydon launched into an impassioned tirade against his former Sex Pistols bandmates and director Danny Boyle over their bitter court case. 

The rocker, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, lost his lawsuit which he filed to stop his music from being used in the upcoming miniseries, Pistol, directed by Boyle. 

Lydon, 65, argued that a 1988 contract signed by himself and bandmates Steve Jones and Paul Cook regarding music licensing were not adhered to. 

However, the judge ruled that all parties have complied with the contract and that the majority of the band can overrule a single veto. 

During his appearance on Good Morning Britain, Lydon expressed his frustration over the verdict and claimed: ‘They kept the whole operation a secret behind my back… and then slung a nasty little email to us on January 4 of this year saying they demanded my permission [to use the music]. 

‘The obvious question for me is permission for what? And bam, there it is. A few days later spread out all over the internet about what a lovely documentary this is going to be on punk, using pictures of me and my wife Nora. They know she’s ill, this is not nice of them to do that.’ 

He added: ‘I didn’t actually deny permission, I merely asked a question.’ 

John Lydon is refusing to support Danny Boyle’s series about his band the Sex Pistols (Picture: Rex Features)

Jones and Cook shared a statement with the ITV breakfast programme, read out by Susanna Reid, which said: ‘We reiterate he was informed of the Pistol TV series, offered meetings with the director and to be involved months before principal photography began.’ 

However, Lydon branded his ex-bandmates ‘filthy liars’ and stated: ‘It’s not OK, it’s really, seriously not OK. 

‘When they say I was informed, they don’t certify a date… Two-faced hypocrites. How are you gonna do a documentary on punk without, hate to be pretentious about this, without Mr Rotten?’ 

Lydon has claimed he didn’t ‘deny permission’ (Picture: Rex Features)

Taking aim at the series’ director Boyle, the musician added: ‘Danny Boyle should be ashamed of himself for getting involved in deliberately not acknowledging who I am or what I am to that movement.’ 

‘Shame on him. Shame on him. Another champagne socialist Danny, Boyle on the bum,’ he quipped. 

Following Lydon’s comments on GMB, a rep for Cook and Jones has reiterated to Metro.co.uk that the Pistol TV series is based on Jones’ book Lonely Boy, isn’t a documentary, will use actors to portray the musicians, and that no promotional material for the programme featured a photo of John and Nora. 

Sex Pistols’ story will be coming to screens based on Steve Jones’ 2016 memoir (Picture: PA)

Their spokesperson said in a statement: ‘He refused these offers [to be involved with the show] and we were saddened he would not engage and at least have a conversation with the director Danny Boyle and co-showrunner Craig Pearce. 

‘And while John’s contribution is rightly acknowledged, his claims to be the only band member of consequence are hard to take. Steve, Paul and Glen started the band and it was completed when John joined. All songs on the band’s seminal Never Mind The Bollocks album were written by Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock and Rotten except Holidays In The Sun and Bodies which were penned by Cook, Jones, Rotten and Vicious…’ 

They continued: ‘John Lydon sold his rights to control the use of these songs in the 1990s in return for money. The majority rule agreement existed as a result – so no outside party could dictate the use of the band’s music. And to have a mechanism in place if one member was unfairly blocking the decision making process – which is what happened in this instance.

‘The rest of the band and many others involved in the punk scene of the time are all involved in the Pistol TV series. Danny Boyle, has worked with The Pistols previously and is a highly respected, Oscar-winning filmmaker. He understands the band and experienced the time that made them.’ 

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Danny Boyle’s rep for comment. 

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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