On Monday, a libel lawsuit was filed by Richard Simmons after the National Enquirer and Radar online embarrassed him across the country. They released a story that said he was undergoing a sex change to turn himself into a woman.
The articles read that this alleged operation was the ‘real reason’ Richard Simmons has not been in the public eye in the past few years. There are claims of him getting a ‘secret boob job’ as well as a ‘castration surgery.’
His attorney said that this was a result of someone who ‘blackmailed, extorted and stalked’ Mr. Simmons for many years all because they were trying to destroy both his reputation and career. The reporters should have looked more closely as to the truth behind the source for the article.
Simmons’s representatives have made a statement that the story is “ not true and a complete fabrication.”
Simmons was hesitant to even file this suit so that he would not offend those who strive to be politically correct and see this obvious case of libel as an insinuation ‘that there was something inherently negative or shameful about transitioning into a woman.’
Eventually, he came around because he ‘has a legal right to insist that he not be portrayed as someone that he is not.’
“The National Enquirer and Radar Online have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and sensitivity,” Simmons’ attorneys wrote. “Principles of freedom of speech and press may protect their prerogative to mock and degrade the LGBTQ community. But freedom to speak is not freedom to defame.” The suit claims the tabloid’s headlines and articles “are flat-out false under any reasonable meaning.” “Mr. Simmons is not a woman; he has not undergone or contemplated sex-change surgery; or any surgery whatsoever to change from a man to a woman; he has not slowly transformed, or transformed in any way, into a female; he has not had breast implants; he has not had hormone treatments; he has not had medical consultations on castrations,” the complaint states.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Enquirer parent company American Media, Inc. claimed the company stood by its report. “Should he choose to proceed with his lawsuit, we will defend it vigorously, and we look forward to the public vindication of our reports,” the spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter. Simmons is reportedly seeking unspecified damages and a retraction and apology from the outlet. The fitness star’s disappearance from public life in recent years has sparked much speculation in the media, and was the subject of a hit podcast titled Missing Richard Simmons.