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John Lydon criticises Sex Pistols biopic ‘Pistol’ as a “middle class fantasy”

Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has criticised Danny Boyle’s forthcoming six-part biopic series about the band, Pistol, as a “middle-class fantasy”.

In a statement posted on Lydon’s website, his representative has explained that they were  “led to believe” that the series would focus on founding member Steve Jones and would not be just another “a Sex Pistols story”. Unfortunately, that “doesn’t seem to be the case” based on its trailer.

“John’s ‘likeness’ is clearly being used to sell this series, a series he was not involved in, and was put together behind his back,” the statement continues. “Putting words in John’s mouth and rewriting history. A middle-class fantasy. Disney have stolen the past and created a fairytale, which bears little resemblance to the truth. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic.”

The new biopic was created and written by Craig Pearce and directed by Danny Boyle based on Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol. The six-part programme is set to premiere on Hulu and Disney+ on May 31st. The official trailer for the series arrived earlier this month and can be seen below.

In a recent interview, actor Anson Boon, who portrays Lydon, explained: “This is the story of the underdog. I think that will always be a story worth telling and it will never not be relevant.”

Lydon has long been critical of Pistol, calling it “the most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure” and claiming it was created without his consent in 2021. Before the project was put into action, a spokesperson for Pistol explained that Boyle had contacted Lydon’s management company about the planned series but that “ultimately direct contact was declined”.

Last year, Lydon lost a legal battle against fellow former Sex Pistols, Jones and drummer Paul Cook after refusing to license the band’s music for inclusion in Pistol. Lydon’s veto was overruled after the court revealed that the band had agreed in 1998 that decisions about licensing requests could be determined on a “majority rules basis”.

Watch the official trailer for Pistol below.