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John Lennon footage showing singer apparently ridiculing disabled people branded 'painful to watch' by leading disability organisation

The footage resurfaced in a Channel 4 documentary 

Heather Saul
Monday 21 September 2015 14:31 BST
John Lennon anniversary
John Lennon anniversary (getty images)

A leading disability charity has condemned video footage appearing to show John Lennon ridiculing disabled people during a Beatles gig.

Footage from the Channel 4 television show It Was Alright in the 60s showed the singer making exaggerated movements with his mouth, hands and feet as he asked the crowd to clap their hands during a live Beatles performance more than 50 years ago.

The series examines controversy moments from television in the 1960s.

Warning: This video contains footage some people may find offensive

The video of Lennon elicited a strong response on social media and was criticised by the disability charity Mencap. Lorainne Bellamy, a Mencap spokeswoman who has a learning disability, acknowledged the footage was five decades old but said it was “shocking and painful to watch”.

“Times may have changed but I always find it hard to believe how such famous people can have these horrible views about real people,” said Ms Bellamy.

“I have seen attitudes towards people like me change a great deal since I was a child. It wasn’t uncommon for people with a learning disability to be publicly laughed at and made fun of at the time.

“Much has changed but there is still a long way to go before the public realises people with a learning disability have the same hopes, dreams and feelings as anyone else, and should be treated with the same level of respect as anyone. We are not here to be laughed at and I hope that today’s celebrities would never consider acting like this.”

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