Gene Simmons has commended women for finally opening up about their experiences with sexual harassment/assault in the wake of allegations of misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Since the Weinstein story broke, about one in five Americans said they had seen their friends or family post stories about sexual harassment on social media, according to a CNN poll. Using the hashtag #MeToo, they told their stories. It soon became clear just how common this sort of thing is.
The KISS bassist/vocalist, who once claimed to have bedded nearly 5,000 women during his lifetime, was asked in an interview with SiriusXM Patriot's "The Wilkow Majority" on Thursday (November 16) if he could be the Gene of 1977 in 2017 without any fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior.
"My mother raised me right," Gene said. "You know, I was a jackass all my life, because rockers are not necessarily the best role models, so I wandered all the time — anywhere, everywhere, any opportunity. And God bless [Gene's wife] Shannon for sticking by my sorry ass and raising two great kids. And so finally, at 62, I married her. But my mother gave me the right ethics and morality: treat women with respect. And I don't wanna get into this kind of, 'No, trust me, I'm a good guy.' Actually, I am. Treat women with respect. Have a sense of humor. Sometimes you can say something sort of 'off color,' as they say. But it's up to women. You will only get the respect you demand."
He continued: "You've gotta tip your hat to women as a whole for finally standing up and saying, 'Enough!' Because guys are not gonna stand… 'Oh, you want the vote, huh? You know what? We should be kind of civilized and say, 'Yeah, you should have the vote.'' No, it never happened. The only way women got the vote is because en masse, they stood up and said, 'We want the vote and we're gonna fight for it.' And right now what's happening is a revolution. Women are standing up together and saying, 'Enough is enough. You are not allowed to verbally or otherwise abuse us.' And good for them. Again: women will only the respect and power they demand."
Simmons made similar points when asked his opinion on the Weinstein scandal while sitting on a panel with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business's "Mornings With Maria". He said (see video below): "Men are jackasses. From the time we're young, we have testosterone. I'm not validating it or defending it.
"Guys need to be trained from their very, very young ages by their mothers and their loved ones to understand that half the world's population are female and they need to be treated with respect.
"We don't get the training. And that's not a defense. Harvey and [Bill] Cosby and anybody who may have allegedly done any of those things should go down all the way to hell so they can become somebody's girlfriend. I'm just kidding — it's just a joke. But women, really, en masse should rise up… The only way you got the vote is not because men wanna share it with you, it's because you started marching and demanded it.
"You will only get the respect you demand," he continued. "Our African-American brothers and sisters only got the respect — whatever they've got so far — by marching and taking charge of it. And guys like Harvey need to be held accountable — if proven guilty in a court of law, no matter what the court of public opinion says, because Playboy wound up paying many millions of dollars for alleged rapes and blah blah blah, which wound up to be untrue.
"What I don't like is that anybody can make a public statement, and then people join in. In England, by the way, you're not allowed to do that. Whatever's going on in court is held private until the verdict by your peers."
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.
One month after a New York Times exposé reported decades of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein, he has been ousted from the Television Academy, banned for life from the Producers Guild of America and voted out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also facing suspension and disciplinary charges from BAFTA and the Directors Guild of America.
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."