Judge Allows Lawsuit Against KISS Bassist GENE SIMMONS To Proceed

Samuel Maull of Newsday.com has issued the following report:

A woman who claims to be a former girlfriend of KISS rocker Gene Simmons can proceed with a defamation lawsuit in which she says he made her sound like a "sex-addicted nymphomaniac" during a VH1 television show, a judge has ruled.

State Supreme Court Justice Rosalyn Richter denied Simmons' motion to dismiss two of three claims by Georgeann Walsh Ward, 53, of Chester, N.Y., who says in court papers made public Friday that Simmons slandered her during a "rockumentary" about KISS.

Ward said in her lawsuit, filed in January, that photos of her appeared 11 times during the report on KISS, which was shown on the network several times in July and August. In it, Simmons claimed to have had sexual encounters with 4,600 women.

The documentary, "When KISS Ruled The World", chronicled the band's 30-year career, its impact on rock music and the quartet's "wild" antics. The other band members were guitarist/singer Paul Stanley, drummer Peter Criss, and guitarist Ace Frehley.

Simmons says during the show, "There wasn't a girl that was off limits, and I enjoyed every one of them," Ward's court papers say.

At another point Simmons says, "I was a 24-hour whore. All I ever thought about was sex." This, court papers say, was shown and followed by a photo of Ward with Simmons.

Ward's papers say that because a photo of her with Simmons — though her name is never mentioned — was shown during remarks about his sexual adventures, she was in effect portrayed as "wild" and "unchaste."

Richter let stand Ward's two claims that she was depicted as unchaste or promiscuous during the documentary, even though Ward admitted she was in a "romantic" relationship with Simmons.

Social mores regarding sex between unmarried persons have changed, the judge said, but the law still says that calling a woman unchaste is defamation.

The judge dismissed Ward's claim that her likeness was used for commercial purposes without her permission. Richter said editorial use of photographs in documentaries or news publications is not barred by law.

"Here a viewing of the documentary makes clear that it is just that — a documentary," the judge said. "Plaintiff points to nothing in the program to suggest that it was used as a vehicle to promote Simmons' or KISS' music or merchandise or otherwise constituted an advertisement."

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