Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke claims he was left with severe facial bruising and a split lip following what he alleges was a racist attack involving Sex Pistols singer John Lydon. The incident occurred on Saturday evening at the Summercase festival in Barcelona while the bands were socialising backstage.
In an official statement released by Okereke, who is of Nigerian descent, the singer says he approached Lydon and asked him about the possibility of a reunion for Public Image Ltd, the band Lydon formed following the Sex Pistols demise in 1978. In Okereke's words, Lydon became "intimidating and aggressive while his entourage responded with a racist tirade, including the statement, 'your problem is your black attitude'." An assault allegedly ensued in which three people attacked Okereke.Several other bands witnessed the incident, with members of the band Foals and Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson intervening on the Bloc Party singer's behalf. Both have confirmed to the Guardian that the incident occurred but could not confirm or deny reports that the assault was racially motivated. Following his involvement, Foals singer Yannis Philippakis was arrested. He is expected to make a statement shortly.
"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." The incident has since been reported to the police in Spain and the UK.
No comment has been offered by Lydon yet but he is expected to respond to the accusations later today.