John Lydon Claims He's In 'Financial Ruin' After Sex Pistols Biopic Lawsuit

Photo: AFP

Weeks after a High Court judge in London struck down his attempt at blocking a forthcoming Sex Pistols biopic miniseries helmed by guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, frontman John Lydon a.k.a. "Johnny Rotten" claims he went broke defending the legacy of his band.

"I'm seriously in a state of financial ruin," Lydon told The Telegraph. "I've got no more savings, no more loans, no pensions. I've got nothing ... I'm f---ed, and I'm scuppered in so many different ways."

The forthcoming miniseries, Pistol, is based on Jones' 2018 memoir and directed by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle. To make the series, Jones and Cook secured approval from surviving Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and the estate of Sid Vicious.

Lydon, the band's lone dissenter, made a show of fighting his bandmates in a court case he seemed certain to lose, on account of a band agreement from the '90s stating that matters pertaining to the Pistols' legacy would be determined on a "majority rules basis."

The frontman argued that he had no recollection of signing the agreement, and that band matters had always been decided on a unanimous basis. Jones and Cook said the "majority rules" clause was purposely included in the agreement in case one member was "unfairly blocking the decision making process — which is what happened in this case."

The week after the case was decided, Lydon released an open letter via his website, lamenting that he was now "powerless" to stop his bandmates from making a series that would surely "water down and distort the true history and legacy of the Sex Pistols," though he had not seen the scripts or discussed the finer points of the series with the filmmakers. He complained that "The Sex Pistols have become the property of Mickey f---ing Mouse."

Jones and Cook said all the band members were invited to participate in the series. Lydon turned down multiple opportunities to meet with Boyle, they said.

"This entire juggernaut of confusion has cost me millions," Lydon continued. "Such a hideous, nasty onslaught; I never expected Steve, Paul and Glen to be that evil. And we never even sat down and had a conversation about it."

Exacerbating his fiscal concerns, Lydon says, is the health of his wife, Nora, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"If anything happened to me, what could happen to Nora?" he wondered. "Seeing as they've stolen all my money. It's a very serious problem... I'm gonna have to work really hard to gain anything like a fundamentally stable environment to take care of my loved ones."

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