- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 17, 2014

KISS rocker Gene Simmons had some blunt words for immigrants coming to America in search of prosperity: “Learn to speak [expletive] English.”

Mr. Simmons, born Chaim Witz, immigrated to New York from Israel with his mother when he was 8 years old. In an interview with HuffPost Live, he called it an “inferred fiduciary duty” for American immigrants to learn English in order to become successful.

“Get rid of your accent. I did. Be a legal immigrant. I’m a legal immigrant. Come to the country [but] just buckle your knees a little bit, make the effort to learn the culture, assimilate to the point that you can … all [be] proud of who you are and where you come from. … Great, whatever you’re proud of, just tip your hat to America, which is the melting pot and makes it all possible,” he said, before admitting to digressing.

“You digress, but you open a can of worms to a degree,” host Ricky Camilleri commented.

“No, it’s not. No, it’s not. I’m actually saying the thing that needs to be said because the politically correct climate is bull[expletive],” Mr. Simmons said. “You don’t want to upset anybody by saying, ‘Learn to speak [expletive] English.’ So, as an immigrant, I’m telling you: Learn to speak [expletive] English. It is the key that will unlock the keys to the kingdom. If you make the effort, then all the possibilities of this culture will open up for you and give you all the rewards that I’ve gotten.”

Mr. Camilleri argued that Mr. Simmons‘ comments could be interpreted that he thinks immigrants are lazy and don’t want to learn English, to which Mr. Simmons shot back: “Wow, do you know Bill O’Reilly? Wow.”

“I’ll state it as fact once again,” Mr. Simmons said. “The more you learn to speak English, and the more you know about American history, the more of an advantage you’ll have in this culture. There’s no other way.

“Arianna Huffington couldn’t speak a word of this language. She learned to speak the language. She educated herself. And then she got 800 million bucks for the Huffington Post. Learn to speak the language. Learn the people skills, the language skills. You’ll get the money,” he said.