Gene Simmons, of KISS and bullshit reality TV shows, made headlines recently when he made some pretty insensitive comments about depressed people. In an interview with Songfacts, Simmons went on a rant about addiction and depression, ending with, “kill yourself.” Here’s the quote:
[...] I don’t get along with anybody who’s a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: “The world is a harsh place.” My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear f-ck all about “the world as a harsh place.” She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, “I’m depressed, I live in Seattle.” F-ck you, then kill yourself.
He actually went on to add,
I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. 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.”
Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the fuck up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd.
Okay, so not like it’s ever a good time to make fun of people with clinical depression and tell them to kill themselves, but this is an especially bad time to make such statements. In fact, his statements got his music banned from major radio stations across the globe.
Now he’s apologizing. Here’s his apology, from Facebook:
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.
What do you think? Do we forgive him?
(Personally, I am so over Gene Simmons. So very over. He reminds me of the “edgy kid” in middle school. Everyone had an “edgy kid” in middle school.)