Sunday, November 13, 2005

KISS and tell

Gene Simmons, the flamboyant base player of the rock group KISS is being sued.
A woman in her fifties, Georgeann Walsh Ward, claims to be a former girlfriend of the rocker, started proceedings at the beginning of this year.
It all started when VH1 produced the rockumentary “When KISS Ruled The World” that followed the band’s 30-year career, its impact on rock music, and the wild antics of its members.
It was broadcasted numerous times.

In the documentary, Simmons claimed to have had sexual encounters with 4,600 women.
He also stated that “there wasn't a girl that was off limits, and I enjoyed every one of them” and “all I ever thought about was sex.”
During these remarks, a photo of Ward with Simmons was shown.
Ms. Walsh Ward decided to sue Simmons, his company, KISS Catalog, and VH1 parent Viacom of defamation and invasion of privacy, since she was in effect portrayed as “wild” and “unchaste.”

I don’t get it. This woman admitted that she was sleeping with Simmons when she was a student. The photos used on TV dated from that period. It wasn't Simmons who put them on screen, but the rockumentary makers.
Simmons, known for his brutal honesty, for sure never made any bones about being (to phrase it politely) a ladies’ man with a huge appetite.
Her claim that they were in an “exclusive, monogamous, romantic relationship” sounds as sincere as a politician’s promise during his/her election campaign.

State Supreme Court Justice Rosalyn Richter (what's in a name? "richter" means "judge" in German!) at least had the good sense to dismiss Walsh Ward’s claim that her likeness was used for commercial purposes without her permission.
Georgeann Dear obviously didn’t realize that the law does not bar editorial use of photographs in documentaries or news publications.
But the other claims still stand.
“Social mores regarding sex between unmarried persons have changed, but the law still says that calling a woman unchaste is defamation,” according to the judge.
Interesting, must Georgeann prove that she was/is “chaste” while admitting that she bedded a rocker known for his raunchy lifestyle?
Since Mr. Simmons is very clear about his outlook on marriage, I am sure that there were no promises made, so doesn’t that leave our Georgeann in an illicit relationship?

Furthermore, Georgann’s name was not mentioned in the rockumentary, which as far as I know, is necessary for defamation of character.
Moreover, Ms. G. claims to be so worried about her reputation. Why did she sue, thus ensuring that her name would be splattered all over the gossip columns?
Once in the courtroom she will be forced to bear it all.
I am sure that the last thing her son wants to hear is the level of chasteness of his mother…

Well, to me, the issue is clear.
Ms. G. obviously thinks that KISS and Simmons are spelled KI$$ and $immon$.
She saw herself on TV and smelled a golden opportunity for shaking GS (who is an extremely successful business mogul) for some serious dinero.
The law in question sounds like it was last put into effect during the Salem Witch Trials.
(Don’t you agree that anyone winning a case that confirms a person is “chaste” just makes that person look like a wimp?)

Before Ms. Walsh goes on, let me give her a word of advice.
Simmons didn’t become the highly successful businessman he is by being taken for a ride.
I would be very careful if I were in her shoes – Gene might opt to get even.
He has the power, the patience, and the resources to sue her for the rest of her natural life, which is a lawyer’s heaven and everybody else’s nightmare.
And if Mr. Simmons wants to have another legal eagle on his team, I will be happy to oblige.....

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