By Chris Johnson
Sean Lennon with mother Yoko Ono, pictured together in New York last August, has defended her for allowing footage of his father to be used in a Citroen car ad
John Lennon's son has denied that Yoko Ono is cashing-in on his father's legacy by allowing images of the murdered Beatle to be used in a TV commercial.
Faced with a growing storm of protest Sean Lennon is claiming the Citroen car ads are being screened as the family's way of keeping Lennon's memory alive.
Yoko Ono gave permission for archive footage of a John Lennon interview to be used in a UK advert for the Citroen DS3 hatchback.
But Beatles fans have accused the pair of cheapening the name 'Lennon' and branded them Yoko and Sean as 'leeches'.
One disgusted fan, named only as 'Stew' fired a stream of abuse over the ads at Sean, 35, via the social networking site Twitter.
Stew told Sean: 'You and Ono have sold John out allowing Citroen to use him to sell their cars. English fans are disgusted at you both.
'You and your mother are a talentless pair of leeches. You're not fit to use the surname Lennon. Enjoy the money...can't buy you love!'
John Lennon as he appears in footage for the ad
Stung Sean initially hit-back, branding his critics 'peasants' and 'a**holes' but claimed he had not seen the ad.
Now Sean has viewed he commercial and has confessed that he understands why fans were so upset, but denied that making money was the family's motive.
Speaking via Twitter, Sean said: 'Look, TV ad was not for money. It's just hard to find new ways to keep Dad in the new world. Not many things as effective as TV.
'Having just seen the ad I realise why people are mad. But intention was not financial, was simply wanting to keep him out there in the world.'
The Citroen DS3 hatchback, pictured here at the opening of the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland today
Citroen has defended its use of John Lennon by saying that permission was sought and given by Yoko Ono and the Lennon estate.
The campaign, by London-based advertising agency Euro RSCG, is billed as 'anti-retro' and also features legendary screen siren Marilyn Munro.
Some Beatles fans have challenged Yoko to explain why she gave her permission and told her 'Shame on you!' But defending his mother's decision, he continued: 'She (Ono) did not do it for money. Has to do with hoping to keep dad in public consciousness. No new LPs, so TV ad is exposure to young.'