Sex Pistols’ John Lydon loses lawsuit against bandmates over Danny Boyle’s Pistol series

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Slippery slope: John Lydon, formerly Rotten, went from punk prophet to butter salesman (Reuters)
Slippery slope: John Lydon, formerly Rotten, went from punk prophet to butter salesman (Reuters)

Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten – real name John Lydon – has lost his lawsuit against bandmates Steve Jones and Paul Cook.

The ruling means that Jones and Cook are permitted to license Sex Pistols’ music for Danny Boyle’s forthcoming miniseries Pistol.

The six-part series began filming in May this year and stars Toby Wallace, Anson Boon, Louis Partridge and Jacob Slater as the members of the British punk band.

As reported by Variety, the lawsuit revolved around a 1988 contract signed by the three musicians that dictated any licenses for the music could be “granted by agreement from the majority of the band”.

In his lawsuit, Lydon argued that the contract had not been adhered to and any request for such licenses would therefore be subject to individual members’ vetoes.

A judge has since ruled that those involved have complied with the contract, meaning that the majority of the band can overrule a singular veto.

In a joint statement issued to The Independent, Jones and Cook said: “We welcome the courts ruling in this case. It brings clarity to our decision making and upholds the band members’ agreement on collective decision making.

“It has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

Lydon, left, and Steve Jones of British band the Sex Pistols perform at a 2008 concert in Serbia (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Lydon, left, and Steve Jones of British band the Sex Pistols perform at a 2008 concert in Serbia (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Independent has contacted a representative of Lydon’s for comment.

Per Variety, it emerged during the trial that Lydon had previously vetoed use of Sex Pistols’ music in Netflix’s hit period drama The Crown over concerns that producers planned to “distort history”.

Lydon has previously spoken out against the forthcoming miniseries based on his band, calling it “the most disrespectful s*** I’ve ever had to endure”.

The 65-year-old said: “I mean, they went to the point to hire an actor to play me but what’s the actor working on? Certainly not my character. It can’t go anywhere else [but court].”

He also claimed that he was seeking legal advice about taking the production team to court as he alleged that neither his consent nor participation was requested.

A spokesperson for Pistol told The Sunday Times that Boyle had contacted Lydon via his management company about the project, but that direct contact was declined.

Lydon will be portrayed in the show by Boon, starring alongside Partridge, who plays Sid Vicious. Derry Girls’ Dylan Llewelyn, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams and The Queen’s Gambit’s Thomas Brodie-Sangster are also among the cast.

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