Richard Simmons Files Lawsuit Over Sex Change Story
Summary: Richard Simmons is suing two websites for alleging that he was transitioning from male to female.
Richard Simmons hasn’t been in the public eye for a while, and this caused the gossip rags to speculate that he was pulling a Caitlyn Jenner. But now, the Beverly Hills-based fitness guru is fighting back and suing those who said he was undergoing a sex change operation.
“Richard and I are very pleased that his side of the story could be voiced today through the filing of the lawsuit against National Enquirer, Inc., Radaronline, LLC American Media, Inc. We truly feel the complaint speaks for itself,” Michael Catalano, Simmons’ manager, told ET. “In typical fashion the Enquirer and Radar are denying all responsibility for their reckless and damaging reporting. We look forward to getting the facts of the case before the public.”
Simmons sued the National Enquirer and Radar Online for libel and invasion of privacy. The publications said that he called himself ‘Fiona” and was undergoing transition surgery. They also claimed that he would cross-dress and leave his Hollywood Hills home dressed as a woman to have secret rendezvous.
The lawsuit stated that the report of the sex change was false and “hurtful,” and he is seeking unspecified damages.
“This case is about a particularly egregious and hurtful campaign of defamation and privacy invasions, falsely asserting that Mr. Simmons is transitioning from a male to a female, including ‘shocking sex surgery,’ breast implants, hormone treatments, and consultations on medical castration. The National Enquirer and Radar Online have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and sensitivity,” the lawsuit stated. “Even the most ardent supporter of sexual autonomy and LGBTQ rights is entitled to be portrayed in a manner that is truthful. It is to vindicate that right, and the rights of all persons to be portrayed with dignity and honesty with regard to their sexual identity, that Mr. Simmons files this lawsuit.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Simmons’ former assistant Mauro Oliveira was behind the leak and had been trying to blackmail, stalk, and extort the 68-year-old gay icon for years.
Oliveira denied the claims to PEOPLE Magazine, and he said that the once happy-go-lucky Simmons had isolated himself from the world.
“He used to have friends over all the time, dinner parties all the time,” Oliveira said. “That’s why it bogs my mind that he decided to ‘completely abandon the world.’”
The National Enquirer and Radar defended their coverage and said they would fight this lawsuit.
“We stand by our reporting about Mr. Simmons, and intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit and win public vindication of our reports,” the statement said. “We will also aggressively pursue our ongoing investigation into his life and who is really behind this bizarre and merit-less lawsuit.”
In the past few years, the plaintiffs have seemed to be victorious in these types of cases. For instance, Hulk Hogan sued Gawker for publishing a sex tape involving him and his friend’s wife, and a jury awarded him over $ 100 million for invading his privacy. That judgment effectively caused the website to shut down.
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