KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons says that he is "on the side" of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was fined $2.5 million and banned for life after Sterling's racist remarks were made public.
The publication of Sterling's taped racist comments privately imploring a woman friend not to associate with black people, sparked public outrage and embarrassed the National Basketball Association (NBA), which demanded the team be sold by September.
While promoting the new AMC series "4th And Loud" about the KISS-branded Arena Football League team L.A. Kiss, Simmons was asked by The Wall Street Journal if he had followed the Sterling incident. "I'm on the side of Don Sterling," he replied. "I'm on Mel Gibson's side, Don Sterling's side and anybody who has a racist or an expletive rant privately. The difference between this guy, who's heinous, of course, or anybody else is that they were caught.
"Everybody [says] jokes that are off-color, or when they're drunk. The difference between Sterling and everyone else is that he was caught on camera, by the way, without his approval. He was ambushed. I think he should have done penance and paid a fine.
"Here's what's going to happen. They're going to go after Sterling and he's going to put a few million dollars out there, because he can afford it — and he's going to ask the paparazzi out there to find videos of all the other team members talking trash and racist rants. And then it's open season. And if, because you say an off-color joke or make a racist rant privately, that causes you to lose a job — nobody would have a job! Black people do it, Jews do it, Christians do it — everybody does it! It's called America. Free speech. Even if free speech insults other people. Privately. Publicly, that's different.
"I'm on the side of free speech in the privacy of your own home or privacy of the situation.
"Big Brother has finally crawled in bed with us."
During a 2012 interview with Noisecreep, KISS frontman Paul Stanley made it clear that he didn't share his bandmate Gene Simmons' views on voicing their political opinions publicly.
"I don't know what's more embarrassing, these musicians and actors talking about politics in interviews or the media actually giving them credibility about it," Stanley said. "It's absurd that a celebrity could speak out on the economy or politics with no more justification than a hit album or a movie. Not to deride Gene, but I just think he's part of a symptom of absurdity where you'll see somebody on television whose only criteria for being there is success in a field far away from what they're being asked about. I really don't know who is more ridiculous, the celebrity answering these political questions or the person asking them."
He continued, "I'm usually not at a loss for words, but this whole celebrity political thing always gets me. It's so embarrassing to see people with absolutely no inside knowledge of anything they are talking about. I have friends who are intimately involved with world affairs and these are the people who won't give opinions like these celebrities do. For my friends, it's far more complex and sensitive than that, unlike these celebrities who read some newspaper story, or watch CNN, and then spout out some opinion on something they truly don't know anything about."
Earlier in 2012, Simmons expressed regret over his endorsement of President Barack Obama in 2008, telling Fox News' "Fox and Friends", "Hindsight is 20/20. I have some real issues with the economy and how it's being done. America should be in business and it should be run by a businessman."
He continued, "America is a business. If you can't afford to do something, no matter how much bellyaching everybody does… I'm so sorry, if you can't afford it, you shouldn't do it. If you can afford to take care of two kids. Have two kids. Don't have ten kids. If you can't afford to have a $400,000 home, you can afford a $100,000 home, then do that."
Asked by host Gretchen Carlson who his pick for president was, Simmons responded, "Strictly speaking on the economy and in my humble opinion, Mitt Romney."