Kiss’ Gene Simmons Says He’s ‘On the Side of Donald Sterling’
When the NBA fined and then banned former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after a series of racially insensitive comments were leaked to the world at-large, many applauded the action. Gene Simmons was not among them.
In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, the outspoken Kiss bassist revealed that he thought that the league had gone too far with their punishment. “I'm on the side of Don Sterling," he said. "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.”
While Simmons is quick to note that he does not agree with Sterling’s personal views -- at one point calling him "heinous" – he does support the disgraced former owner's right to expound upon them. “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.”
While his stance in support of the fallen NBA team owner is certain to raise a few eyebrows, Simmons went on to disavow racism in general as he outlined his views on the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins name. “As a Jew, I wouldn’t be thrilled [with a team named] “the Kikes,” he noted. “I understand if you’re a sports fan and if you’re white, you go “Hey, what’s the problem? We have a long history.” But if you’re an Indian, think about it. White dudes don’t have to worry about that stuff because [they] were always the majority in imperialist countries of the world. “Cracker” means nothing to white people. They had all the money and the power.”