7/24/2008

Lydon Accused of Racist Assault

Bloc Party's Kele Okereke alleges he was racially taunted and later assaulted by John Lydon and members of his entourage backstage at the recent Summercase Festival in Barcelona.

According to reports in the UK's Guardian, "It's not an issue of the physical assault, even though it was an unprovoked attack," said Okereke. "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." He added: "I am disappointed that someone I held with such high regard turns out to be such a bigot."

Lydon has both denied the attack and accused Okereke of lying, stating "If they need publicity so badly this is the allegation universe they run into." He added, "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."

Meanwhile, Gruff Rhys, frontman for Super Furry Animals, is said to have been present during the altercation and confirmed Okerke's version of the events in an interview with MTV News:

It was horrific. Kele is a very brave man and what he said is exactly what happened.”

Stay tuned.

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