Kiss frontman Gene Simmons says racists should be publicly shamed and fired from their jobs, as he joins scores of celebrities in a new Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com the rock legend also revealed his first experience of anti-Semitism aged 13, when a boy tried to keep him out of a YMCA pool because he was Jewish. It didn’t end well for the racist teen.
‘I remember coming out of the pool and these two guys got in my face. One said ‘What are you doing here? You’re Jewish’,’ said Simmons, whose Hungarian mother survived the Holocaust.
‘He started talking about Nazis. I remember thinking about my mother and everything. I leaned forward and said ”Sorry I can’t hear you.”
‘As he got in my face, I smashed my forehead against his nose. Of course he started bleeding and fell into the pool. And I was thrown out of the YMCA.’
The 71-year-old rock star said the experience was just one of many that led him to champion stamping out prejudice.
This week Simmons joined more than 170 black and Jewish leaders from the entertainment industry launching the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA), described by the organisation as ‘a joint initiative by black and Jewish entertainment industry professionals devoted to countering racism and anti-Semitism in the entertainment community.’
Simmons told DailyMail.com he was disgusted by the racism he sees in America and said society should take a hardline approach to those spreading prejudice and hate, comparing them to cockroaches.
‘It is going to get better but you’ve got to confront it,’ he said. ‘You’ve got to turn on the light and go after those cockroaches. And don’t just chase them out. Find out where they live.
‘Identify them, make their lives miserable – legally. Shine the light on that cockroach.
‘The guy with his drunken buddies hurling racial epithets, take photos of him. This guy’s name is so-and-so and he lives right outside of Manchester and works in this garage. Guess what the garage is gonna do? They’re going to fire his ass right away, because they don’t want the attention of hiring a hate-monger.’