In the clip, which aired on Sept.19, Lennon encourages the screaming crowd to clap their hands and stomp their feet, while he speaks with a speech impediment and makes awkward clapping and stomping movements that one twitter user describes as “distasteful learning disability impressions.”
It Was Alright is designed to bring focus to the ways that the entertainment industry and our standards for acceptable behavior have changed over the past several decades. Other episodes of the Channel 4 show include It Was Alright in the ’70s and It Was Alright in the ’80s. But if the response on Twitter is any indication, the Lennon clip has been the most troubling footage revealed so far on the show.
In The Independent, Lorainne Bellamy, a spokeswoman for the disability charity Mencap, who herself has a learning disability, acknowledged the footage was five decades old but said it was “shocking and painful to watch”.
“Times may have changed,” she said, “But I always find it hard to believe how such famous people can have these horrible views about real people.”