GENE SIMMONS TALKS ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSON
July 2, 2009
Gene Simmons says he’s heard enough celebrity tributes to Michael Jackson, and wants to hear from the kids who accused the late pop singer of molestation.
Simmons, the bassist/vocalist for classic rock stalwarts Kiss, says he’s less interested in Jackson’s talent than he is in accusations that the singer molested young boys.
“I want the kids who’ve accused him, to be blunt, of molestation, to have their say,” Simmons told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Thursday.
“I want to hear what they have to say. Not celebrities. Let’s celebrate the talent and everything later, let’s just figure out if there are any victims here.”
Jackson, who died last week, was tried for child molestation in 2005 but was ultimately acquitted of all charges by a jury. He faced a similar accusation in 1993 but that case was settled out of court.
For years, rumours swirled as Jackson hung around with child stars including Macaulay Culkin, and invited young boys for sleepovers at his Neverland ranch.
Despite being acquitted, those close to him have said he never recovered from the charges.
Since his death, glowing tributes have been rolling in from celebrities around the world, with few mentions of the allegations.
Even U.S. President Barack Obama paused Thursday to say that Jackson “will go down in history as one of our greatest entertainers.”
Meanwhile, speculation raged Thursday about where the King of Pop will be buried, with some reports mentioning that there will be a public event in honour of the singer at the Staples Center in L.A. next week.
Officials are also probing the circumstances around Jackson’s death, and whether drug use was involved.
Simmons, who’s a popular – and reliably outspoken – reality TV star in addition to a rocker, said he initially declined to provide his opinion on Jackson, but that enough time had elapsed since the singer’s death for him to break his silence.
Simmons said he knew Jackson roughly 26 years ago. At the time, Simmons was living with Diana Ross and found Jackson to be “charming and shy and self-effacing, you know, very pleasant, obviously talented.”
Jackson paid millions of dollars to settle out of court with a 13-year-old who accused him of molestation in 1993, Simmons noted.
“I want to know what that boy has to say,” Simmons said.
“So while it’s sad that (Jackson) had this sad life and I understand, that’s horrible – Michael’s not the only victim. I want to know what these boys have to say.”