Amid a campaign to ban Kiss music from radio stations and a ceding of the moral ground to Nikki Sixx, Gene Simmons has come forward to apologize for his recent comments on depression—an apology that seems to come from a genuine place in Gene Simmons, seeing as he’s a real asshole about it. “To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression,” the apology reads, as Simmons begins his act of contrition by implicitly blaming the media for contextualizing his comments—in which he said, “For a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, ‘I‘m depressed, I live in Seattle.’ Fuck you, then kill yourself”—as somehow representing his feelings on depression. Really, he says, they were inspired by the “spur of the moment,” egged on by an interviewer for Songfacts who asked him the leading question, “Do you still get along with [Ace Frehley and Peter Criss]?”
Simmons goes on to offer more sincere-sounding statements of regret to those he offended, immediately tempering them with his proud, oft-repeated avowal of being “politically incorrect” and someone who tells it like it is. He also suggests that his comments—which included the statement, “I’m the guy who says ‘Jump!’ when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, ‘That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to jump”—were somehow “misconstrued” as being unsympathetic toward those suffering depression, when really they were just about how has zero compassion for alcoholics or drug addicts. Finally, Simmons insists he would never stoop to trying to defend himself by mentioning “the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with;” indeed, only a real asshole would even bring those up.
Here’s the statement in full.
I want to make this statement about my views on depression for the record and to clarify my prior remarks.
To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression, I was wrong and in the spur of the moment made remarks that in hindsight were made without regard for those who truly suffer the struggles of depression. I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments. I recognize that depression is very serious and very sad when it happens to anyone, especially loved ones. I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease, especially depression.
I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention. Fully, you will know that and I do not intend to defend myself here and now, by listing the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with. Rather, I simply want to be clear that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression and I deeply regret any offhand remarks in the heat of an interview that might have suggested otherwise.
Simmons’ apology has already impressed Nikki Sixx, so that’s one person.
In related news, Simmons has yet to apologize for other recent statements—in which he defended Donald Sterling, dismissed sexism as an argument over whether “princesses” want men to hold doors open for them, suggested that poor people should “try being nice” to the wealthy, and told immigrants to “Learn to speak goddamn English”—because none of these statements were unfortunately timed to the death of a beloved entertainer, and because Gene Simmons is an asshole.