John Lydon is no stranger to shocking television appearances, but the former Sex Pistol provoked fury today by ordering a female host to “shut up when a man is talking”.
The 57-year-old was branded a “sexist, misogynist pig” after his appearance on the Australian talk show The Project on Channel Ten.
Lydon, who is touring the country with his band Public Image Limited, launched a verbal attack at the female anchor, Carrie Bickmore, when she cut in with a question about the death of Baroness Thatcher, before turning his ire on the rest of the panel.
After a benign start in which the punk rocker insisted “I don’t seek trouble”, he turned the audience against him with a series of sexist comments. He called Ms Bickmore “eh missus” and aggressively told her to “shut up”, claiming she had interrupted him. “When a man is talking, do not interrupt,” he said.
The awkward laughter gave way to stunned silence as she protested and Lydon, 57, went on: “Stop it. You sound like one of them dreadful loud birds I don’t like.”
After Lydon was accused of being offensive, he told Bickmore: “So are you when you do that. You have to learn what manners and respect is.”
Adopting a patronising tone, Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, said she was not allowed to ask a question because “your voice is too loud”. He also threw a mock Nazi salute.
After the interview finished, Bickmore described Lydon as “damn rude”. Another presenter, Andrew Rochford, added: “He was a flat-out sexist, misogynist pig.” The singer’s comments attracted condemnation in Australia yesterday, but Lydon hit back, saying: “It’s quite clear to me I’m not a sexist and I’m not a misogynist.” He said that if someone interrupts “you are going to have to say something at some point, whether it be male or female”.