Yoko Ono and John David Chapman?

Strange story I once heard. I heard it on TV, so sorry, no cite.

But as the story went, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were protesting against a certain prison. Cruel and inhumane, I guess was their argument. But the protest songs were pretty strong. At one point, they even had a lyric that said the judges that sent poor hapless souls there deserved it more than the inmates did.

Then in the early 80’s, John Lennon was assassinated outside his New York apartment by John David Chapman.

And, as the story went, he was then sent to the very prison presumably Yoko Ono had been so against.

I just have to ask: Was this hypocrisy or just coincidence? Or maybe some combination of the two? I presume Ono thought he got what he deserved in any event. And I am sure that is quite understandable, so I am not criticizing her. But still.


Nitpicking but Chapman’s first name is Mark not John.

But the gist of the story is true. Lennon and Ono released a protest song “Attica State” in 1972 (after the riot of the previous year). Chapman murdered Lennon in 1980 and was incarcerated for several years at Attica.

Who are these people?

I’m only joking, of course, but frankly I don’t understand what the (great) debate is here.

Not quite true. You have to understand that conditions in prisons, including Attica State, were pretty horrific back then, with near-absent medical care, severe overcrowding, and deplorable living conditions. Attica prisoners were limited to one shower per week and one roll of toilet paper per month. [Cite] In 1971

The riot at Attica shocked and appalled a lot of people and resulted in prison reform. John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded a song, “Attica State,” in 1972.

Later lines urge freeing the prisoners and the plea that all prisoners need are truth, justice, love and care. It was an idealistic and tumultuous time, and Lennon a compassionate and peaceable man. Lennon and Ono sang the song at a benefit for prisoners’ widows but did not participate in a protest, per se.

Hypocrisy? No. The call for prison reform was widespread, and most of the idealism of the early 70s had dissipated by Lennon’s murder in 1980. Nor were Lennon and Ono anti-cop. They donated money toward the purchase of bullet-proof vests for the NYPD. Coincidence that Lennon and Ono lived in New York City, the most populous city in the US, when Lennon was murdered? Of course not. Coincidence that his killer (whom, like the Beatles, I will not name) went to the prison NYC criminals were often sent to? Not really.

But satisfaction? You think the widow of a man who promoted peace and who was violently killed would find satisfaction in the killer going to jail? Relief, sure. She’s opposed parole whenever the killer became eligible. She’s said she’s afraid he would come after her or her and Lennon’s son, Sean.

No irony, no hypocricy, no satisfaction…just a terrible and senseless loss.

He’s still there, actually, having been denied parole 10 times thus far.

He’s still in prison, but not in Attica.

Yeah, I gotta go with ‘not a debate’.

Off to MPSIMS, I guess?

From the Wikipedia article about the film John and Yoko: A Love Story:

Mark Lindsay was originally considered for the role of John Lennon. Yoko Ono had been deeply involved in the production and had herself been initially impressed with his audition and approved his casting prior to discovering his full name was Mark Lindsay Chapman. She then nixed his casting on the grounds it was “bad karma”, and a great deal of press attention was given to his having almost gotten the role.

It’s her life, her husband, but I still despise her for this. It’s not the actor’s fault.

Oh well, it saved him from being in a bad movie.

You’ve completely lost me. Yoko would have had no say in where Chapman was incarcerated. How could she be accused of hypocrisy?

A crime is just a crime, til it happens to you. Then it’s personal. But truly Yolo had no say in incarceration of Johns murderer, as previously stated. I am certain she will oppose any release as long as she can. Rightly so. IMO.

After all, you only live once.

At last, in this world in which we live in.

If I’m understanding the OP correctly, his question is whether Ono’s position changed significantly between 1972 and 1982. In 1972, she was saying that prisoners should be freed from Attica. Would she have said that Chapman should be freed from Attica in 1982? It would be hypocrisy to say that the prisoners who committed crimes against other people don’t deserve to be in prison while saying that the prisoner who committed a crime against her family should stay locked up.

I would tend to go with what nelliebly wrote; the song in 1972 was directed against prison conditions that had existed prior to its time and was a call for reform. A person could say that they were against specific prison problems without saying they were against the entire concept of imprisonment.

I don’t recall Yoko saying anything about Chapman’s impresonment. Maybe I missed it, but the OP didn’t point to any statements that we could evaluate.

Are you talking about the lyrics in the song, or did she supposedly say that elsewhere? I don’t think lines like “free all prisoners everywhere” were meant to be taken literally, as you seem to agree with.

It’s well known that Ono opposes Chapman’s release every time he’s up for parole, so I’m guessing the OP didn’t bother writing that in the opening post.

She used to say live and let live. You know she did. Now she says live and let fry.

The OP merely said,

Ono has spoken about her feelings about Lennon’s killer and his imprisonment a number of times. Here’s one from (God forgive me.) People magazine.

You loathe Ono because she was so disturbed that the actor who got the role of John Lennon had the same name as her husband’s murderer that she didn’t want him in the role? Why is that so despicable? If someone with the name of the guy who murdered your spouse wanted to play him/her in a movie, wouldn’t it creep you out? If an actor named Adolf Hitler wanted to play the movie role of my friend V’s father, who was in a concentration camp, I’m pretty sure she’d object pretty strenuously. Bad karma or not, it’d be an insult to her dad’s memory.

Actually, though, Chapman DID play Lennon a few years later in the terrible bio-pic

. So not only did he get to play Lennon, he got to star in another stinker of a movie.

There are plenty of reasons to resent Ono. This is the first time I’ve seen this one.

It’s a complex world.

Yes, I do. She had already thought he was good in the role. Is was his real name, not his stage name, which is not even the same as Lennon’s killer, that caused her to remove him.

He had nothing to do with Lennon’s murder, and it’s unfair to him to be removed just because he shares part of his name with his murderer.

And you went full nazi. Try using a believable example. If my daughter wanted to marry Theodore William Bundy I’m not going to drive him off because he shares the first and last names of a serial killer. That would be irrational. My daughter’s fiance had nothing to do with that.

The difference is that Mark (not John) Chapman only killed one Beatle.