John Lydon Revives PiL For U.K. Tour
John Lydon Johnny Rotten Getty Images

John Lydon has forged his old-school punk reputation out of sensational outbursts on TV. The one-time Sex Pistol may have gone a little too far, again.

The British artist has issued something resembling an official apology after he gave an interview on Australian prime-time TV which has been widely slammed as “sexist” and “misogynistic.”

Lydon, who was in fully Johnny Rotten-mode, cut-down "The Project" co-host Carrie Bickmore when she asked his thoughts on Margaret Thatcher. His outburst included these words, “"Hey, hey, hey Mrs," he said. "Shut up. Whoever you are, shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Now listen, when a man is talking do not interrupt."

As the conversation went on, Bickmore told Lydon: "That's really offensive." His response: "So are you. You've got to learn what respect and manners is... No, no, no. You need to be quiet."

Since the interview was broadcast on Tuesday, Lydon has issued the apology: “I am the enemies of governments and institutions, certainly not women. I've been married to one for 30 years. We love each other.”

In 1976, Lydon was at the core of a notorious interview on the sedate Bill Grundy show in the U.K. Flanked by members of the Sex Pistols, Rotten and his pals turned the air blue with a string of expletives. A public outcry ensued, Grundy’s career was in tatters and EMI was pressured to drop the band -- which the music company ultimately did. Today, it’s still an extraordinary outcome for what were a few naughty words on national TV.

The Sex Pistol and PiL founder tested his hardcore fans to their limits when he fronted a British ad campaign in 2008 for the Country Life butter brand.

In a bizarre side-note to Lydon’s current promotional visit Down Under, the artist is reportedly threatening to take legal action against a Melbourne publicist who spat in his sushi. The publicisit, Chrissie Vincent-James, reportedly spat in his food because he was rude to her.

Lydon's PiL played Sydney's Enmore Theatre on April 10, a tune-up ahead of a raft of live dates mid-year which include a show at Britain's Glastonbury Festival.