May 12th, 2016
Gene Simmons made some nasty comments about Prince’s death during an interview with Newsweek. The Kiss bassist and singer contrasted David Bowie’s death, which he called “tragic,” to Prince’s, which he deemed “pathetic” He added: “His drugs killed him. What do you think he died from, a cold?”
Though Simmons had expressed heartfelt sympathy for Prince when he died—tweeting: “It cannot be overstated. PRINCE was the REAL DEAL. RIP PRINCE”—his subsequent comments have been denounced as insensitive. His remarks pretty much encapsulate the prejudice many people still feel about drug use (but only certain types of drug use, of course).
Simmons himself is a known bigot. In an interview for an Australian radio station, for example, he made racist comments about Muslims: “This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it’s willing to just live in the sands of God’s armpit, you’ve got another think coming.” And he had this to say about immigrants: “I’m actually saying the thing that needs to be said, ‘cause the politically correct climate is bullshit… You don’t want to upset anybody by saying, ‘Learn to speak goddamn English.’ So, as an immigrant [Simmons immigrated from Israel as a child], I’m telling you: Learn to speak goddamn English.”
Simmons did offer a mealy-mouthed apology on Tuesday for his remarks about Prince. “I apologize— I have a long history of getting very angry at what drugs do to the families/friends of the addicts.”
Despite KISS’ claims of wanting to “rock and roll all night and party every day,” Simmons seems to be more interested in hating on people who use drugs. He proudly maintains, “I’ve never been high, drunk, I’ve never smoked in my life.”
Perhaps not. But he has plenty of worse vices.