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Richard Simmons Suing RadarOnline, National Enquirer

Truth rating: 10
Richard Simmons Suing National enquirer

By Shari Weiss |

Richard Simmons Suing National enquirer

(National enquirer)

Richard Simmons is suing RadarOnline and the National Enquirer over “unflattering” and “hurtful” stories the sister outlets have published about him over the last few years. The lawsuit is expected to be filed on Monday.

Simmons’ suit will target not just the webloid and supermarket tabloid, but also their publisher, American Media, Inc., which he claims has engaged in a “hurtful campaign of defamation and privacy invasions.” The multi-complaint lawsuit will point to stories published both in print and online that made untrue allegations about the fitness guru, who has retreated from the spotlight in recent years. Gossip Cop has tracked some of those inaccurate claims.

Perhaps most notably, Gossip Cop was the first to bust the National Enquirer nearly a year ago for a cover story that falsely alleged Simmons had transitioned into a woman named Fiona. A rep for the flamboyant personality exclusively told Gossip Cop the assertions were a “complete fabrication.” Simmons himself subsequently took to Facebook a few days later to “set the record straight and refute these lies.”

Yet the tabloid didn’t back down. That same month, the National Enquirer ran a follow-up story to continue its false narrative, wrongly insisting Simmons was “desperately trying to cover up a stunning transition.” That, however, was just another falsehood. RadarOnline, meanwhile, ran all of the erroneous claims on its website. And in the months since, the online publication has engaged in speculation about his well-being and whereabouts, fueling rumors that he had “disappeared.”

Most recently, in April, the site claimed it obtained audio of a “tortured” Simmons “sobbing and breaking down” about the state of his life, and how he “can’t take it anymore.” His spokesperson, however, dismissed the recording as several years old and not a reflection of his “current state of mind.” The webloid’s piece came shortly after Simmons was briefly hospitalized last month for indigestion.

Additional questions about Simmons were fueled in February by the podcast “Missing Richard Simmons,” which examined theories about his current life amid unsubstantiated claims he was being held hostage by his housekeeper. Welfare checks by police, however, have confirmed that Simmons is not being held against his will and not in any danger. His camp maintains he’s just chosen to lead a more private lifestyle.

Simmons will reportedly seek unspecified damages with his lawsuit. Gossip Cop will update with more information once the legal documents are filed.

UPDATE: The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court later Monday. The legal documents accuse the two outlets and their parent company of running “cruel and malicious” articles between June 2016 and March 2017. Much of the suit focuses on the aforementioned allegations that Simmons was transitioning from male to female. “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. Mr. Simmons, like every person in this nation, has a legal right to insist that he not be portrayed as someone he is not,” says his attorney, Neville Johnson.

Johnson alleges the publications relied on a single source for its stories: Simmons’ former assistant/associate Mauro Oliveira, whom the lawsuit accuses of stalking, in addition to blackmailing and extorting Simmons with false claims. Now the star, suing on grounds of libel and invasion of privacy after being depicted in a false light, wants a court to bar RadarOnline and the National Enquirer for continuing to run such articles. He is also seeking both punitive and compensatory damages, and wants a retraction and an apology from the outlets and their publisher.

For the record, Oliveira denies the claims against him. And while American Media has not formally responded to the suit, a rep for the company says it “stand[s] by our reporting” and will be “vindicated.”

 


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