Gene Simmons Is Sorry for 'Kill Yourself' Comments - But Is His Apology Still Offensive?
Gene Simmons is doing some damage control.
The KISS frontman offered up a mea culpa on his official Facebook page Friday after comments from his July interview with SongFacts.com went viral. In an online article, Simmons was quoted as saying, "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**k all about "the world as a harsh place. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, 'I'm depressed, I live in Seattle.' F**k you, then kill yourself."
Simmons' comments took on a new weight after beloved comic Robin Williams, who famously dealt with substance abuse and depression in the past, tragically committed suicide on Monday. In a statement, Williams' wife said that the star's sobriety was intact at the time of his death.
With the topics of depression, suicide and substance abuse thrust into the spotlight, it makes sense that Simmons' comments were brought to light and heavily criticized online. In a post written on Friday, Simmons apologized and attempted to clarify his off-color remarks.
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.
While Simmons says that he “deeply regrets” the offhand remarks, the statement also clearly separates the term “disease” from those facing alcoholism or drug dependency and is likely to draw fire from both addiction specialists and recovering addicts.
Among those taking Simmons to task online is fellow rocker Nikki Sixx, 55, who tweeted: "I wonder if @genesimmons would still say how depressed people or addicts should kill themselves if it happened to his wife or kids?"
What do you think of Simmons' apology? Is it genuine or offensive to addicts?