Richard Simmons Suffers Big Loss After Judge Makes Shocking Ruling

Richard Simmons, a fitness guru, actor and comedian, has been embroiled in a legal battle. Now, he's had his standing defamation lawsuit dismissed after a judge determined that being transgender is no longer considered to be defamatory for the individual and therefore does not need to be libelous. Mr. Simmons’ lawsuit against the National Enquirer was initiated after they falsely asserted that Mr. Simmons was “transitioning from male to female,” and had undergone “shocking sex surgery.” Although the ruling has been hailed a step forward for the transgender community, Mr. Simmons has voiced his disappointed.

“This case is about a particularly egregious and hurtful campaign of defamations and privacy invasions,” stated Mr. Simmons’ lawyer according to a report obtained by the Daily News. The article in question supposedly asserted “that Mr. Simmons is transitioning from a male to a female and receiving breast implants, hormone treatments and consultations on medical castration,” leaving Mr. Simmons outraged at the false accusations and lack of respect for the transgender community.

Simmons’ complaint, which was submitted earlier this week, included claims of libel and invasion of privacy in Los Angeles County Superior Court, specifying that, “the cruel and malicious publication of these stories is particularly offensive because Mr. Simmons fully supports individual autonomy and the essential human dignity of every person to make his or her own personal choices regarding sexual identity,” the paperwork reveals. “Mr. Simmons has been an avid supporter of the LGBTQ community for his entire life.”

According to the claims, the National Enquirer published stories featuring Mr. Simmons, boasting titles such as “Richard Simmons: He’s Now A Woman,” accompanied with an old photo of the fitness guru “dressed in costume as a female, which he has done openly over the years consistent with his well-known and longstanding burlesque-style entertainment persona.” Furthermore, Mr. Simmons has claimed that, after informing them of the initial lawsuit, the company made a cynical bet that he would avoid legal action simply because it would “appear” that he was suggesting “there is something wrong with transitioning from one gender to another.”

Despite the strong suit against the National Enquirer, Judge Gregory Keosin, ruled against Mr. Simmons, stating that being misidentified as transgender doesn’t necessarily expose them to “hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy." It is because of this reason that Judge Keosin determined that this mislabeling would not be of the same level as defamation.

“While, as a practical matter, the characteristic may be held on contempt by a portion of the population, the court will not validate those prejudices by legally recognizing them.” Judge Keosin’s ruling is allegedly the first to directly address the transgender label and, in turn, diminish its negative connotations. Mr. Keosin pointed out that misidentifying someone’s race is not considered defamatory, therefore transgender and other sexuality classifications should operate the same way.

Mr. Simmons’ attorney, Rodney Smolla, was displeased with the outcome, arguing that “There are giant segments of society in this country who endorse the kind of prejudice and hatred and shunning of transgender persons in a way that is dramatically different than the way we treat race in this country.” Mr. Smolla went on to conclude: “The object of the National Enquirer was to do everything they could to humiliate this person. They made it up entirely out of whole cloth. I submit that when you make something up intentionally… and put it on the cover, there’s an inference you can make that somebody’s reputation is going to be harmed.”

Source: NY Daily News
Photo: YouTube, National Enquirer

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