Gene Simmons callously tells depressed people to commit suicide in an interview. Internet finds out, creates backlash, so the KISS singer apologizes.
In the wake of speculation on Robin Williams's death and that depression may have played a part, many celebrities have embraced the serious nature of suicidal thoughts.
Gene Simmons is not one of them.
According to Loudwire, Simmons and Paul Stanley are the only original members of KISS. In an interview with SongFacts.com, the site was curious if the singer stayed in touch with previous members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley.
The KISS mogul told the site that he didn't associate with the two. "No, 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."
Okay, not the best way to make friends and influence people to buy your product.
Unfortunately, it gets much worse when he brings out false equivalencies. "My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. 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."
While it's truly admirable his mother has such a strong fortitude, everyone is different with different experiences. Right? Not so much. "And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, 'I'm depressed, I live in Seattle.' F--- you, then kill yourself."
He clarified even further. "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." Surely it’s easy to know anyone’s mental state you’ve never met…oh.
"Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the f--- up, have some dignity and jump! You've got the crowd." Remember, people. Depression is only for attention seeking. Those bouts of suicidal thoughts plaguing your mind, or feelings of hopelessness are just for show. (Not really, though. They're terrible and oppressive on the mind.)
"By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, 'I'm going to blow your fuckin' head off!' He'll go, 'Please don't!' It's true. He's not that insane."
Yay, standard mental norms for everyone?
And Loudwire notes that Motley Crue member Nikki Sixx wasn't overly pleased with the assessment. Sixx is a recovering alcoholic and used his radio show, ‘Sixx Sense With Nikki Sixx‘, to blast the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
"It’s pretty moronic because he thinks everybody listens to him, that he is the god of thunder." Even as someone who likes Simmons normally, this situation is particularly different for the bassist.
"I don’t like Gene’s words, because … 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.’” Inciting a suicide by tact approval of action through glamorizing is a good message in the mind of some.
Sixx wants another message to be focused on.
"For people who are depressed, there is a way out. There are many, many ways out." As someone who survived drugs and depression, there's knowledge on hand. And the singer brought in some facts. "One in 10 Americans are affected by depression at one point in their life, so this is another thing to think about." In other words, no one is in this alone.
The Sixx: A.M. singer reminds his audience that cycles happen, and to not focus on the less than ideal moments. "They say all bad things must pass, all bad things will pass, so keep that in the back of your mind if you’re feeling depression, and don’t listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about."
And ignore Simmons comments.
Huffington Post observes that his statements pre-date the death of beloved actor Williams. Somehow the information managed to slide under the radar, but the Twitterverse blew up on Friday when Sixx discussed the topic.
For the man who can never have too much money, fans leaving in droves as he opens up a new business venture—an arena football team called LA KISS, and related television show—presents a serious problem. Not to mention when radio stations threatened to ban all KISS songs.
Backlash can be a powerful thing, and Simmons has now sort of, maybe, not really given some kind of a statement on his Facebook. "I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease, especially depression." Also, correlation is not a thing in his mind since he still has major issues with anyone facing addiction. "I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics."
Later, the singer posted on the KISS Facebook page and expanded on his first statement.
"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."
"It's not as simple as we are lowly addicts or morally incapable of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, doing the right thing or just snapping out of it. The process involves hard work and hopefully some form of a support team (family, friends etc) around you."
Depression's a trending concept right now. Celebrities like Wil Wheaton are opening up on the effects of the illness. It's often silent, not easily spoken about, and often feeling of shame for not being able to just get over the feelings.
The recovering rocker also wanted to tell the audience that it's okay if support involves "therapy, rehab, 12 step programs or sometimes-even medication." Why? Because "it’s better than the alternative."
He also provides a lot more statistics on how deeply depression can run inside a person, but no one's really not alone. Suffering alone isn't necessary in a global world. Connections help.
If you suffer from feelings of suicide, depression, or just need to find someone to listen before performing self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or follow this link for international hotlines.