Did you know that Richard Simmons is going through a defamation lawsuit?
What happened was that Richard Simmons and his team discovered that the National Enquirer magazine ran multiple articles between June 2016 and March 2017. These articles had titles like “Shocking Sex Surgery” and spread the rumor that the fitness guru had gone under gender-reassignment surgery.
Credit: National Enquirer
Then in May, Simmons and his team filed a defamation lawsuit against the magazine stating that the articles were “cruel and malicious.”
But, American Media, which owns the magazine, is arguing back that it doesn’t count as defamation because there is no shame in being transgender. Thus, calling someone transgender shouldn’t be considered insulting or public image ruining.
But get this, Simmons and his legal team fired back by filing another lawsuit this past Thursday, and this time they cited Donald Trump.
They stated that in a time where the U.S. President will tweet intolerance towards trans people, the magazine used sensational wording like “exposing” and “bizarre” to sell a false and transphobic narrative.
Some of the specific wording that the prosecution used was:
“It is unclear why — if society (and AMI purportedly with it) so embraces the transgender community — that AMI would characterize its Articles as ‘exposing’ Mr. Simmons or use the word ‘bizarre’ to characterize his alleged new life as a trans woman,” states Simmons’ response.”
“Surely, if AMI’s readers rejected prejudice against trans people, such phrasing would not help sell magazines or promote internet clicks. AMI cannot at once cynically and deliberately publish falsehoods about Simmons that it touted to the world as ‘shocking’ and ‘bizarre,’ intentionally pandering to prejudice, and then righteously pretend that such prejudice does not exist.”
That said, perhaps the magazine really believed in its news and its stories. After all, Richard Simmons did suddenly disappear from public view for a few years. There are even websites and podcasts about it.
But, it seems that isn’t the case as the magazine continued to publish articles about this rumored sex change even after being sued.
In addition, media like the Enquirer were point fingers toward former masseuse and friend Mauro Oliveira as the source of the rumors.
They alleged/stated that Oliveira had become a stalker and said that he wanted to ruin what’s left of Simmons’s career and public image (if he wasn’t paid).
Credit: Entertainment Tonight
That said, Simmons's team filed a declaration on Thursday with a statement from Oliveira where he says he never said such a thing.
"I was shocked and disturbed after discovering that the National Enquirer and Radar Online published cover stories claiming that Richard Simmons has transitioned into a woman and included the photos I supplied," Oliveira stated.
"Although I may have said that Richard Simmons's chest looks like the chest of someone who might be on hormones," Oliveira's statemend added, "I never stated that Richard Simmons is now a woman, had breast implants, or had sex-change surgery."
That’s as far as the case has gone and there’s no way to know which way the verdict will go. But we'll keep you updated if there's any change.
Note (8/19/2017): An earlier version of this post reported on the Oliviera stalking as if it was true, but thanks to his comments to Instinct, we have updated the article to include his statement and declaration.