John Lydon loses lawsuit against Sex Pistols bandmates over new Danny Boyle show

It's over the use of the band's music on Danny Boyle’s upcoming new ‘Pistol’ show

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, has today (August 23) lost his legal battle against his former bandmates.

Lydon was being sued by two former bandmembers after refusing to license the group’s music for inclusion in Danny Boyle’s upcoming biopic series, Pistols.

Guitarist Steve Jones – whose 2016 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol serves as the basis for the show – and drummer Paul Cook legally challenged Lydon’s veto, with their lawyer Edmund Cullen appearing in the High Court last month (July 15).


Per The Associated Press, Cullen said a band agreement made in 1998 stated that decisions about licensing requests could be determined on a “majority rules basis”.

However, Lydon has now lost the case in a court ruling handed down by the High Court today (August 23). Sir Anthony Mann found Cook and Jones were entitled to involve “majority voting rules” against their bandmate.

Sex Pistols (Picture: Getty)

A joint statement from Cook and Jones said: “We welcome the courts ruling in this case. It brings clarity to our decision making and upholds the band members’ agreement on collective decision making.
“It has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

The band’s original bassist Glen Matlock, and the estate of late bassist Sid Vicious, both supported the inclusion of Sex Pistols’ music in Danny Boyle’s show. However, Lydon argued that the licensing couldn’t be granted without his consent.

Directed by Boyle (Slumdog Millionnaire, Trainspotting), the six-part series stars Game Of Thrones Maisie Williams as Jordan Mooney (AKA Pamela Rooke) and Babyteeth‘s Toby Wallace as Jones. Anson Boon will play Lydon, while Louis Partridge depicts the late Vicious.


It is expected to be broadcast on Disney-owned channel FX next year.

Lydon previously said the series was the “most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure”.

NME has reached out to representatives of Lydon for comment.