Have you ever sworn in a meeting at work as a result of a colleague goading you to say something controversial that resulted in national outrage?
If you have, you’re not alone.
Notorious punk rock group The Sex Pistols caused uproar in 1976 when they appeared on the prime time TV show Today with host Bill Grundy.
Queen were initially scheduled to appear on the 1st December 1976 broadcast, but the group cancelled their appearance at the last minute due to singer Freddie Mercury suffering from toothache. They were instead replaced by The Sex Pistols who appeared at short notice with their entourage.
The show was broadcast live on weekdays at 18:00pm, at a time in tv history when spoken obscenities were unheard of and the interview began with Grundy introducing the band before provoking his guests by saying: “they are as drunk as I am!”
He initially received mocking but relatively mild responses from Glen Matlock before going on to challenge the group’s punk credentials by saying: “I am told… that that group… have received £40,000 from a record company…. Doesn’t that seem, uh, to be slightly opposed to your anti-materialistic view of life?”
Grundy received a reply of, “The more the merrier,” from one band member, with Steve Jones adding, “We fuckin’ spent it ain’t we?” afterwards.
Later on in the interview, Johnny Rotten responded to a question about Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Brahms by replying, “Oh yes, wonderful people, they really turn us on!” to which Grundy responded with, “What if they turn other people on?” Lydon then said, “That’s just their tough shit!”
When challenged by Grundy to repeat himself, Lydon replied, “Sorry! Rude word! Next question.” Grundy continued to insist that Lydon should repeat what he had said and when Lydon did so, Grundy mocked him.
As Grundy was being insulted by other members of the band, he tried to involve the female members of the band’s entourage, who were known as The Bromley Contingent and included Siouxsie Sioux.
Grundy said, “What about you girls, behind?
Sioux said, “I’ve always wanted to meet you”, to which Grundy responded by saying, “Did you really? Well, we’ll meet afterwards shall we?”
Steve Jones responded to Grundy’s comment by calling the interviewer a “dirty sod” and a “dirty old man.”
Grundy proceeded to goad Jones even further and beckoned him to “say something outrageous”, a challenge that was met by Jones calling Grundy a “dirty bastard” and a “dirty fucker.”
Grundy then responded with: “What a clever boy” before Jones added “What a fucking rotter!” to his tirade as the show ended and the credits rolled.
Although Today was only a regional programme for the London area, the incident became national news.
Grundy was subsequently suspended for two weeks and Today was cancelled from air two months later. Bill Grundy never worked in prime time television again and some say the chaos that the Today show appearance brought ended up wrecking The Sex Pistol’s career.
Have a look at the video clip below and ask yourself what would happen to your career if you swore in a workplace meeting. Here at The W1nners’ Club, we take a very dim view of anybody that doesn’t use foul language in the office!