Long-tongued, loud-mouthed hard rocker Gene Simmons publicly apologized for suggesting that drug addicts and people suffering from depression should “shut the fuck up,” and “have some dignity and just” kill themselves by jumping off a roof.
“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,” the KISS frontman wrote on his Facebook page Friday.
“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.”
Simmons, who is famous for his piercing vocals but not for his sharp wit, made the offensive remarks during a July 31 interview interview with the Huffington Post.
“Drug addicts and alcoholics are always [saying] ‘the world is a harsh place,'” Simmons had said during the interview.
“My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany,” continued Simmons, who was born Chaim Witz. “I don’t want to hear fuck 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.’ Fuck you, then kill yourself.”
The Israeli-born, often face-painted celebrity added that, if he could, he would provoke people contemplating suicide to give up their lives.
“I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff,’ he said. ‘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.”
Simmons’ controversial statements came under heavy fire from internet surfers almost immediately, but criticism of him sparked further after the death of actor Robin Williams, in an apparent suicide on August 11.
“It’s pretty moronic because [Simmons] thinks everybody listens to him, that he is the God of Thunder. He will tell you he is the greatest man on earth, and to be honest with you, I like Gene. But in this situation, I don’t like Gene. I don’t like Gene’s words,” Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx said in response to Simmons’ words.
“There is a 20-year-old kid out there who is a Kiss fan and reads this and goes, ‘You know what? He’s right. I should just kill myself.'”
Ironically, after Williams was found dead, Simmons retweeted a National Suicide Prevention hotline tweet honoring the deceased comedian.
“R.I.P. Robin Williams,” he wrote in a different tweet. “A kind and generous man.”
Simmons has since deleted his Twitter account.