Richard Simmons Suing Several Tabloids Over False Claims About Sex Transition

No one is ever really sure what's going on with Richard Simmons. The 68-year-old fitness guru seemed to disappear for the last few years and went into hiding. The only thing anyone knows about him is that last month he went to the emergency room for digestive issues. In his absence, rumors have begun to fly, and now he's suing.

Simmons filed a libel suit against the National Enquirer, Radar Online, and American Media, Inc. after the media outlets ran stories that Simmons was transgendered. They claimed his absence was related to his transition from male to female.

Simmons is furious about the stories and claims the individual who gave them the story can’t be trusted. Mauro Oliveira, according to Simmons, is a former associate who 'blackmailed, extorted and stalked' the fitness expert.

"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," reads the complaint.

"The National Enquirer and Radar Online have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and sensitivity. 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," it continued.

American Media Inc. defends its stories. In a statement to NBC News, the media company said, "While we have not seen Mr. Simmons' complaint, we stand by our reporting about him, all of which was based on solid sourcing and material evidence," a spokesman said. "Should he choose to proceed with his lawsuit, we will defend it vigorously, and we look forward to the public vindication of our reports."

Simmon says that he supports the transgendered community, but that he is not transitioning.

Source: Time
Photo: Wikimedia

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