Gene Simmons says that he did nothing to warrant him being banned for life from Fox News.
It was reported last month that the KISS bassist/vocalist would not be welcomed back to the conservative news network due to lewd behavior following his appearance on Fox News and Fox Business Network. The Daily Beast reported Simmons was on hand to promote his latest book, the financial self-help guide titled "On Power", on both "Fox & Friends" and "Mornings With Maria". During the "Fox & Friends" appearance, he took the opportunity to aid meteorologist Janice Dean in her weather report and later on spoke frankly about the various sexual misconduct scandals in Hollywood.
It was what allegedly happened once the cameras stopped rolling that got Simmons banned from the network. Gene was set to plug the book with FoxNews.com's entertainment division, when according to an unnamed Fox staffer, he barged into a production meeting, pulled open his red velvet shirt and yelled "Hey chicks, sue me!" — before "telling Michael Jackson pedophilia jokes, and then bopped two employees on the head with his book, making derisive comments about their comparative intelligence according to the sound their heads made when struck." The source was quoted as saying: "It was pretty severe."
Simmons shot down The Daily Beast's report during an interview with BBC "Hardtalk"'s Sarah Montague. Insisting that he never disrupted a Fox meeting or ripped his shirt off, Simmons said: "Here's how I wear my shirt. Somebody there apparently had the goods in for me and called something called The Daily Beast or something and said whatever they said I did. I did nothing. I always had people around me. Like when I come here, I've got handlers and everybody sees what I'm doing. You can't go into a public area and do anything."
Gene continued: "The problem is with social media today is nobody calls you and says, 'Do you have a comment?' So the story was printed, and, of course, everybody exploded. And Fox, you know, they're nice people — I like them a lot — closed ranks and they're afraid of getting sued by everybody. Nothing happened. I stand by every word."
Pressed by Montague to clarify that "nothing happened" but Fox still banned him from the network, Simmons said: "That's right. That's exactly right. I stand by every word I just said."
During the "Hardtalk" chat, Simmons was asked about women who have opened up about their experiences with sexual harassment/assault in the wake of allegations of misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Gene, who is renowned for his sexual appetite and decades of consensual conquests, was himself accused on social media of behaving inappropriately around at least two women.
"All of a sudden, 44 years on in a rock band, somebody's coming up and saying, 'This guy is a bad guy.' It's not true," Gene told Montague in response to accusations of his sexual misconduct. "I think the climate is horrifically bad and yet at the same time empowering to the right women. There are some really bad guys out there; I just happen not to be one of them."
Commenting on the culture that has for many years protected abusers — and, in some cases, enabled them to harass or assault multiple people — Simmons said: "The women who are going after the Weinsteins of the world? They should go to the cops. The police are here and the court system is here for you to do what the women did with Bill Cosby. You have a complaint? Go to the cops. Going to the court of public opinion on social media is… Maybe it exactly happened the way it happened. Why don't you get yourself a lawyer and do due diligence."
When Montague pointed out to Simmons that some of the sexual misconduct doesn't rise to the level of criminal prosecution, however obnoxious and unacceptable it may be, but should still be brought to the public's attention in order to change the culture that has kept women abused and silent, Gene said: "There's an organization here in England — I saw it yesterday on a chat show — a woman heads it, about the victims, you know, the men who are committing suicide, who are wrongly accused of all kinds of nonsense. What about that?"
Asked if he thinks the current witch hunt for sexual predators has gone too far or is unfair, Simmons responded: "I'm not saying it's gone too far or not enough. I'm saying, go to the cops."
Weinstein's career was brought to a halt after dozens of women in the entertainment industry — including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie — accused him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct over the years.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein has repeatedly denied allegations "of non-consensual sex." Weinstein has also apologized for "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past."