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Richard Simmons’ Lawsuit Against National Enquirer Over Transgender Claims Likely To Be Dismissed

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Richard Simmons Lawsuit Dismissed

By Andrew Shuster |

Richard Simmons Lawsuit Dismissed

(Getty Images)

Richard Simmons’ libel lawsuit against the National Enquirer will likely be dismissed, said an L.A. Superior Court judge Wednesday. The fitness guru sued the tabloid over stories wrongly alleging he was transitioning into a woman, but the judge has indicated that misidentifying someone as transgender isn’t defamation.

As Gossip Cop reported, Simmons sued the Enquirer, its sister outlet RadarOnline and their parent company American Media, Inc. in May over articles reporting he was getting a sex-change. Simmons denied the claims and accused the publications of engaging in a “hurtful campaign of defamation and privacy invasions.” The fitness personality’s attorney further insisted the false stories about his client were “cruel and malicious.”

On Wednesday, however, Judge Gregory Keosian tentatively ruled that inaccurately labeling someone as transgender isn’t grounds for a lawsuit. The judge agreed with the assertion by the defendant’s lawyers that there’s “nothing inherently bad about being transgender,” and therefore it isn’t libelous to incorrectly identify someone as such.

“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,” Keosian noted. The judge went on to say that being transgender doesn’t automatically expose one to “hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy,” and therefore it can’t be proved in a court of law that the allegations were harmful to Simmons.

Meanwhile, Simmons’ attorneys maintained in court Wednesday that the Enquirer went out of its way to “humiliate” their client. His lawyer Neville Johnson further argued, “I submit that when you make something up intentionally and put it on the cover there’s an inference you can certainly make that somebody’s reputation is going to be harmed.” Although the judge has tentatively ruled in favor of the Enquirer, he is expected to make a final decision in the coming days.

 


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