Following a wave of outrage from colleagues, fans, and the industry — Triple M announced yesterday that they would boycott his music — Gene Simmons has issued an apology to those offended by his recent comments about suicide. However, many have labelled it “damage control.”
Simmons’ comments have drawn the ire of many of his own fans and even rock and roll peers like Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, who called Simmons’ words “moronic” on his Sixx Sense radio show (via Rolling Stone) and said, “In this situation, I don’t like Gene [and] I don’t like Gene’s words.”
“I want to make this statement about my views on depression for the record and to clarify my prior remarks,” Simmons writes on 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 apologise to those who were offended by my comments. I recognise 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,” he continues.
“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,” he insists. “Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention.”
But for many former fans, the apology is nothing more than “damage control.” “I was a lifelong fan since 1977, you will get no more of my money or my time. You don’t get to backpedal on this one. I suffer from depression and what you said is beyond irresponsible,” writes one commenter.
“Apology not accepted. You showed your true colours, and this is a simple PR statement,” reads a comment from another former fan. “Mr Simmons I appreciate the apology for your comments, but unfortunately I cannot look at you the same [way] any more,” writes another disappointed follower.
During the July interview with Songfacts.com which sparked the controversy, the rocker dismissed the plight of young people suffering from depression. “For a putz 20-year-old kid to say, ‘I’m depressed. I live in Seattle.’ Fuck you, then kill yourself,” said the 64-year-old rock star.
For help or information on suicide prevention contact Lifeline on 131 114, or visit beyondblue.org.au.