During an interview with Songfacts.com on July 31, Simmons made remarks regarding his original bandmates, saying that he no longer kept in touch with them because he doesn't "get along with anyone who's a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim." Simmons went on to say "and for a putz 20-year-old kid to say, 'I'm depressed, I live in Seattle.' F*** you, then kill yourself."
Simmons' comments caused public outcry, prompting the musician to clarify his words and offer an apology. "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," Simmons said in a Facebook status. "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."
While Simmons' social media post seems sincere, it comes more than two weeks after the comments were made and after both the death of a beloved entertainer who suffered from depression and the call for a Kiss boycott by Mötley Crüe bass guitarist Nikki Sixx. "I like Gene, but in this situation I don't like Gene," Sixx said in a recent episode of his radio show, via the Huffington Post. "I don't like Gene's 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."
Sixx also responded to Simmons' comments on his Twitter page.
I struggled with addiction and depression but found recovery.Would you be happy if I killed myself instead?Also my 4 kids wouldnt been born.— Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) August 13, 2014
I wonder if @genesimmons would still say how depressed people or addicts should kill themselves if it happend to his wife or kids?— Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) August 13, 2014
Simmons has been dealing with controversy for decades, but it's been an especially big month for him. Earlier this week, he made headlines for giving harsh advice to people immigrating to America, saying they should "learn to speak goddamn English."
If you suspect someone might be considering suicide, or have struggled with those thoughts yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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