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Getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is an honor for many classic rock bands, however, the Sex Pistols didn’t feel that way. Instead of attending the ceremony, they sent a note explaining why they wouldn’t attend. During their induction ceremony, the Hall of Fame’s co-founder read part of their note. Here’s what he said about the Sex Pistols’ relationship to the Hall of Fame.

The Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten with a microphone
Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

How the Sex Pistols felt about the people who voted for them to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Sex Pistols have a strong anti-establishment streak. On the other hand, the Hall of Fame is a mainstream institution. With that in mind, it’s fitting the Sex Pistols declined to appear at their Hall of Fame induction in 2006. Rolling Stone reports the band explained their reasoning in an open letter.

“Next to the Sex Pistols, rock ‘n’ roll and that Hall of Fame is a piss stain,” the note said. “Your museum. Urine in wine. We’re not coming. We’re not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organization selling us a load of old famous. 

Members of the Sex Pistols in black-and-white
The Sex Pistols | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“Congratulations,” the note continues. “If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. You’re anonymous as judges, but you’re still music industry people. We’re not coming. You’re not paying attention. Outside the sh*t-stem is a real Sex Pistol.”

How the people at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame reacted to the snub

According to the BBC, the Hall of Fame’s executive director, Susan Evans, felt the band’s decision was in tune with the ethos of rock music. “They are being the outrageous punksters they are, and that’s rock ‘n’ roll,” she said. The Sex Pistols still got into the Hall of Fame. Jann S. Wenner, the Hall of Fame’s co-founder, inducted them.

Jann S. Wenner at a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Jann S. Wenner | Kevin Kane/WireImage

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Wenner read parts of their letter during the ceremony. After that, Wenner said the Sex Pistol’s Hall of Fame trophies will remain in Cleveland, the location of the Hall of Fame. He added the Sex Pistols can come and get the trophies whenever they like, either to keep them or smash them.

How the Sex Pistol’s Johnny Rotten feels about the museum

The band’s Johnny Rotten still resented the Hall of Fame long after their induction. “I don’t know about the other members,” he told Cleveland Scene in 2015. “I don’t view myself or the others as museum pieces.” For context, the Hall of Fame is a museum with an extensive memorabilia collection.

“When you get the bigger picture of it, it’s quite insulting,” Rotten added. “They’re packaging us away as their special thing. We’re not their special thing. We resent the system very seriously. Always have and always will and have no connection with that.” It doesn’t sound like Rotten is collecting his trophy anytime soon.