Radio Stations Ban Kiss Music as Gene Simmons Apologizes for Controversial Suicide Comments
As the storm surrounding Gene Simmons' recent controversial comments about suicide grows to include radio station boycotts of his band's music, the Kiss star has issued a new statement declaring that he "deeply" supports those who suffer from depression.
Triple M broadcasting, owner of five metropolitan radio stations across Australia, has banned Kiss following the explosive comments by Simmons on depression and suicide that they've dubbed "misguided and insensitive." Albany, New York's longtime WPYX DJ Uncle Vito has also vowed not to play Kiss music, labeling Simmons "an arrogant, unfeeling a---hole."
These "are not topics he should be using to further his notoriety or sell records," Triple M network head Mike Fitzpatrick says in a statement. "His desperation to use mental health issues to find relevancy in a modern age is sickening. I can only put it down to a brain fade on his part."
The furor started when Simmons, in response to a question about his relationship with former Kiss bandmates, went off on a tangent concerning depressed and suicidal people. "For a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, 'I'm depressed, I live in Seattle,'" Simmons concluded. "F-- you, then kill yourself."
An outraged Fitzpatrick, while calling Simmons a "d--head," is now encouraging other radio programmers in Australia and North America to similarly stop playing Kiss music.
WPYX Triple M, which broadcasts in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, aren't the only ones taking Simmons to task, either. Nikki Sixx took time on his radio show this week to criticize Simmons and encourage those suffering not to "listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about."
Simmons has responded to all this backlash on his Facebook page with the following message:
Depression is very serious and very sad when it happens to anyone, especially loved ones.
I have not commented on various allegations made in the media, but I want to make this statement for the record and to clarify.
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 intentions in speaking very directly and perhaps politically-incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics have been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression.
Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention.
And I do not intend to defend myself here and now by listing the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with.
This is not about me. This is about clearing up misconceptions and being clear. My heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression.
Update 8/15 9:45PM ET - Simmons has now posted a more detailed apology on the official Kiss Facebook page:
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.