Longtime fitness guru Richard Simmons has lost his defamation lawsuit against American Media Inc. after the National Enquirer published a front page story last year saying he was transitioning into a woman.
The judge said Wednesday that identifying an individual as transgender may not necessarily expose them to ‘hatred, contempt or ridicule’ and would not be considered defamatory in nature, according to a TMZ report.
‘While, as a practical matter, the characteristic may be held in contempt by a portion of the population, the court will not validate those prejudices by legally recognizing them,’ the judge added.
Simmons, 69, plans to appeal to the tentative ruling, his lawyer, Neville Johnson told TMZ, after the pair received the devastating news.
Simmons previously confirmed that he is not transgender and even created a pointed list of reasons why in an ongoing explosive lawsuit with the publishing company.
The comedian has been living as a recluse for years, and the June 2016 article claimed his transition was the reason why. The magazine also published claims that Simmons had a ‘boob job’ and ‘castration surgery.’
Simmons filed legal documents on August 20 outlining why the story is wrong, starting with the straightforward statement: ‘I am a male.’
Longtime fitness guru Richard Simmons lost his defamation lawsuit against American Media Inc,’ a judge ruled Wednesday
In June of 2016 the National Enquirer published this cover which claimed Simmons was living out of the public eye because he was transitioning and that he is ‘now a woman’
Simmons filed his suit against the Enquirer and parent company American Media in May 2017. He is pictured in 2013 before he went into hiding
In the filing, Simmons countered the June 2016 cover story with other reasons he says he is not transgender, according to TMZ.
The filing reads: ‘I am not transgender. I have never sought to obtain any medical treatment or procedure designed to transition from male to female.’
Simmons also said he has never had breast implant surgery, and he never ‘consulted with any medical professional regarding sex reassignment surgery.’
The magazine’s cover at issue exclaimed: ‘Richard Simmons: He’s now a woman!’ The front page piece shows what appears to be Simmons lying down in make-up and a wig.
Simmons with his now former assistant Mauro Oliveira. Oliveira says he sold info and photos of his former boss to a story peddler, but says he never gave info saying Simmons is now a woman
Last Thursday, Simmons’ legal team filed a sworn statement by his former assistant who admits he sold photos of Simmons to the magazine and gave a two-hour interview, but never gave information that would have amounted to the cover’s headline.
Mauro Oliveira confessed he sold photos of Simmons dressed as a woman and gave a two-hour interview to a story broker about his former boss in May 2016.
‘Although I may have said that Richard Simmons’s chest looks like the chest of someone who might be on hormones as well as stating that Richard Simmons told me that he sometimes feels like someone is trapped inside his body, I never stated that Richard Simmons is now a woman, had breast implants or had a sex-change surgery,’ he said in his signed declaration, according to the Daily News.
Oliveira also said when he saw the Enquirer’s cover, he was ‘shocked and disturbed.’
Once a familiar face on TV, Simmons has been holed up inside his Los Angeles mansion for the last 42 months aside from going to the hospital for four days in April.
Richard Simmons is seen for the first time in years on April 20, as her returns to his home in the Hollywood,CA hills after a four day hospital stay. He remained hidden under a blanket
Simmons says he takes issue with the magazine’s claims that he had a ‘boob job’ and ‘castration surgery’
His admission to hospital for treatment of indigestion is thought to be the first time he has left home in three years.
The aerobics actor had spent four days inside Cedars Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills where he was being treated for indigestion.
Even when he was seen briefly out in April, Simmons kept hidden under a blanket in the backseat of a Mercedes car driven by his long-term housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, on the way back to his LA home.
When Simmons originally filed his suit against the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media defended the cover story too saying calling someone transgender is not an insult.
Simmons since addressed his support of the transgender community, while still taking issue with the report published in the Enquirer.
‘I fully support transgender individuals and their struggle to achieve acceptance and equality. Nonetheless, the false and fabricated claims that I was contemplating ‘castration’ and have had a ‘boob job’ have caused me extreme embarrassment.’