Sex Pistols Slam Ex-Bandmate's Claim They're Profiting Off Queen's Death

Punk icons the Sex Pistols have spoken out against their ex-bandmate John Lydon, who claimed the band were aiming to "cash in" on Queen Elizabeth II's death.

Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, first made the claim on Instagram on Thursday, but a representative for the Sex Pistols has expressed confusion as what he's referring to.

At the forefront of the punk movement in the U.K. in the '70s, the Sex Pistols wrote scathing lyrics about the monarchy in their song "God Save the Queen," which was released during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The song was banned and censored at the time.

A lengthy statement was posted to Lydon's social media channels and website on Thursday. It read: "John Lydon wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II's death. The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John's wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement."

Sex Pistols at Buckingham Palace
John Lydon (L) previously paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II (R) in an online statement after her death. The main image shows The Sex Pistols with their manager Malcolm McLaren signing a new contract with A&M Records in front of Buckingham Palace in 1977. Graham Wood / Sean Gallup / JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

"God Save the Queen" was re-released in 2002 for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and again in 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee, and again by rights holders UMC in 2022 for the Platinum Jubilee.

Lydon claimed in his statement that "the timing for endorsing any Sex Pistols requests for commercial gain in connection with 'God Save The Queen' in particular is tasteless and disrespectful to the Queen and her family at this moment in time."

"John wrote the lyrics to this historical song, and while he has never supported the monarchy, he feels that the family deserves some respect in this difficult time, as would be expected for any other person or family when someone close to them has died."

Responding to the Lydon's claims via a statement made to Deadline, the rest of the Sex Pistols expressed confusion.

"We cannot understand what he would be referring to. Other than a couple requests for use of imagery or audio in news reports on The Queen and her impact on culture, there's nothing new relating to 'God Save The Queen' being promoted or released in any way," a spokesperson for the band said.

Lydon seems to have cooled down his anti-monarchist sentiments since the release of "God Save The Queen." On Friday September 9, the day after Queen Elizabeth II's death, Lydon paid tribute with a brief statement. "Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Send her victorious," the statement read.

Similar to how The Crown has moved up the Netflix charts, MSNBC reported that songs relating to the Queen were also up. The Beatles' "Her Majesty" and the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" were reportedly up between 260-650 percent.

The Sex Pistols' story was told by director Danny Boyle in the Hulu limited-series Pistol. Lydon had also spoke out about the existence of this TV show, which was backed by he other members of the band, but Boyle and the team wanted Lydon to at least give the show a chance, they told Newsweek.