Published Jul 21, 2008Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke has come out with claims that he was physically, as well as racially, attacked by Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), who has denied all allegations. The incident occurred on Saturday evening at Barcelonas Summercase festival, where Okereke alleges he was left with severe bruises and a split lip following a backstage confrontation with Lydon.
According to a statement released by the Bloc Party member, the singer, who is of Nigerian descent, approached Lydon about a possibility of a Public Image Ltd. reunion (Lydons post-Pistols project), whereby the aging punker became "intimidating and aggressive while his entourage responded with a racist tirade, including the statement, your problem is your black attitude.
A scuffle allegedly followed, where Okereke was reportedly attacked by three members of Lydons entourage.
In response to the claims, Lydon has accused Okereke of "jealousy, saying he felt, "very sorry for a man who needs to lie about what was a perfect evening.
"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, Lydons statement said. "This seems to have sparked jealousy in certain bands. When you are at a festival with bands who are jealous fools, lies and confusion usually follow. If they need publicity so badly this is the allegation universe they run into.
Lydon added that Okereke should "grow up and learn to be a true man.
Okereke said it he was angered not so much by the physical assault but that it became a race issue. "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, he said. "I am disappointed that someone I held with such high regard turns out to be such a bigot.
Several other festival acts witnessed the incident, according to reports, with members of Foals and Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson intervening on Okerekes behalf and backing up his story.
Following his involvement, Foals singer Yannis Philippakis was arrested and the incident has since been brought to both British and Spanish police.
Bloc Party - "Flux"