Rock star, co-founder of KISS, and television personality Gene Simmons is challenging the claims of a makeup artist who falsely claimed that he assaulted her while visiting the ESPN studios in Los Angeles before a KISS concert last November at the Staples Center.
"I have no idea who this woman is and I deny her allegations," Simmons says. "I was only at the ESPN studios for a very short time, perhaps a half-hour, and was accompanied by KISS’ drummer Eric Singer the entire time. I will not stand by and allow this baseless allegation to go unchallenged."
Makeup artist Victoria Jackson filed a lawsuit against Simmons in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 27, demanding that the KISS front man pay her $500,000 in damages for an assault that never took place.
According to Simmons’ attorney, Barry E. Mallen of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, "Gene denies that any assault took place or that Ms. Jackson suffered any injuries attributable to any action on his part. Mr. Simmons intends to defend himself aggressively and he looks forward to refuting Ms. Jackson’s charges in the courtroom."
On May 14, after Mr. Simmons was made aware of Jackson’s claim, he filed a complaint against her in Los Angeles Superior Court, charging that Jackson was threatening to sue him for an alleged incident that never occurred unless he paid to her the outrageous sum of $185,000 for nonexistent injuries. Simmons asked the court for a judicial declaration that no assault took place and that Jackson did not suffer any damages or injuries attributable to him.
After Simmons made clear in his complaint that he was not about to be coerced into making a $185,000 pay-off to anyone, Jackson filed her own lawsuit in which she escalated her monetary demand to $500,000.
Jackson’s allegations involve an appearance by Simmons on ESPN SportsCenter last November. Simmons, along with KISS’ drummer, Eric Singer, appeared on the show in full KISS costume and make-up just before a KISS concert at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on the evening of November 24, 2009. Two months later, Simmons received a letter from an attorney claiming to represent Ms. Jackson alleging that Simmons accosted her during his visit to the ESPN studios. In a follow-up email to Barry Mallen, Jackson’s lawyer demanded that Simmons pay Jackson $185,000 by May 14, 2010, in order to avoid a lawsuit. In fact, as Simmons’ complaint noted, Simmons and Singer were at the ESPN studios for only a few minutes before their appearance on SportsCenter and the type of alleged "sexual assault" that Jackson alleges – that Simmons allegedly "grinded" against her – is belied by the fact that at the time Simmons was in full costume, which includes a "codpiece" over Mr. Simmons’ groin area