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Gene Simmons Apologizes For Comments on Depression, Mental Illness

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 11: TV personality/musician Gene Simmons speaks onstage at the '4th and Loud' panel during the AMC Networks portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
KISS’ Gene Simmons
is making amends after a firestorm generated by comments he made in a recent interview about depression and mental illness.

Simmons was criticized after telling the web site Songfacts, "For a putz 20-year-old to say, 'I'm depressed. I live in Seattle.' F*** you, then kill yourself. I never understand because I always call them on their bluff. 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 f*** up, have some dignity and jump."

Mental health organizations and Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx publicly called out Simmons and his attitude, while some radio stations began boycotting KISS music in response and there have been threats of protests during stops on the group's current tour with Def Leppard.

In the wake of that, Simmons posted a note on his Facebook page to "clarify" his viewpoints: "Depression is very serious and very sad when it happens to anyone, especially loved ones. I have not commented on various allegations made in the media, but I want to make this statement for the record and to clarify. I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease, especially depression. I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics. Somewhere along the line, my intentions in speaking very directly and perhaps politically-incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics have been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention. And I do not intend to defend myself here and now by listing the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with. This is not about me. This is about clearing up misconceptions and being clear. My heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression."

Sixx has publicly praised Simmons for his message and is urging those boycotting KISS’ music to return it to their playlists.