Richard Simmons is suing the National Enquirer, Radar Online and America Media, Inc. over a series of “cruel and malicious” stories published between June 2016 and March 2017 that suggested he had vanished from the limelight to have a sex change.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Monday that Simmons filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that cites the publications’ claims he had “shocking sex surgery,” breast implants, hormone treatments and consultations on medical castration.
“National Enquirer and Radar Online have miscalculated,” read the complaint, a copy of which was obtain by the Hollywood news site. “The National Enquirer and Radar Online have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and privacy.
“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,” the suit added. “Mr. Simmons, like every person in this nation, has a legal right to insist that he not be portrayed as someone he is not. Even the most ardent supporter of sexual autonomy and LGBTQ rights is entitled to be portrayed in a manner that is truthful.”
The 68-year-old fitness guru is asking that the defendants be restrained from continuing to publish articles about how he underwent an alleged sex change, and he’s demanding an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages. In addition, Simmons wants an apology and a retraction.
An AMI spokesperson responded, “While we have not seen Mr. Simmons’ complaint, we stand by our reporting about him, all of which was based on solid sourcing, photos and videos. Should he choose to proceed with his lawsuit, we will defend it vigorously, and we look forward to the public vindication of our reports.”