Yesterday, Johnny Rotten (née John Lydon) defended Donald Trump, calling him, among other things, a “joy to behold” and a “possible friend.” The Sex Pistols frontman also said the media was “trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true.” Today, in an interview with Virgin Radio, Rotten doubled down on those comments.
“I didn’t expect to be misunderstood, I think I speak very clearly,” he said, according to NME. “America now has a new President and whether you like him or not you have to support him or you will destroy the country. You got to make things work.”
He went on to describe some criticisms of Trump as “stupid and wrong.”
“He’s got some serious money issues and business concerns that deeply fascinate all of us but to be smearing him as a racist, this isn’t right, there’s no evidence or proof to that and until there is, I’ll stand up and say that I think that’s wrong,” he said.
Rotten also said he’d been called a racist—unfairly, he claims, though Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke likely disagrees. “In my past I’ve had that accusation thrown at me willy nilly and it’s a damn hard one to have to listen to and endure – make sure it’s right,” he said. “There’s a terrible attitude in left-wing politics – they just feel they have the pomposity and right to just throw these accusations out without any evidence – well don’t because my world requires facts.”
In 2008, Okereke released a statement saying that at a Barcelona festival Rotten’s entourage launched into a “racist tirade” against him, which included the statement: “Your problem is your black attitude.”
“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,” Okereke said at the time. “I am disappointed that someone I held with such high regard turns out to be such a bigot.”
Rotten, for his part, seemed at least somewhat self-aware about what he’d done by bringing up the credible accusations of racism leveled against him nine years ago.
“For the next week and a half the rag-and-bone trade that we call the media is going to be calling me a racist, that’s the tomfoolery of it all,” he said. “That’s going to be damn upsetting all over again to my grandkids, isn’t it?”