Fitness guru Richard Simmons has been through an odd past several years, to say the least. A majority of the clamor around Simmons came in 2014 when the “Slimmons” operator suddenly vanished from the public eye.
Media went abuzz with curiosity about the “Sweatin’ To the Oldies” host, spawning multiple speculative reports and a wildly successful podcast, “Missing Richard Simmons.” After years of ridicule, Simmons finally pushed back.Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
This past May, Simmons hit notorious tabloid the National Enquirer and its owner, American Media, with a defamation lawsuit, after the National Enquirer claimed Simmons was secretly transgender and going under gender transition surgery.
Variety reported that Simmons’ attorneys believe that the National Enquirer was deliberately looking to “humiliate” Simmons and ruin his reputation. Attorney Neville Johnson said:
“The object of the National Enquirer was to do everything they could to humiliate this person. They made it up entirely out of whole cloth. I submit that when you make something up intentionally … and put it on the cover, there’s an inference you can make that somebody’s reputation is going to be harmed.”
American Media wasn’t taking that accusation sitting down. In a statement to ABC News, the publishing company stood by its reporting, claiming that it was hypocritical for Simmons to be a “champion” of LGBT rights yet be offended by a claim:
“It’s the height of sophistry to claim to be a supporter of LGBTQ rights, yet also claim to be defamed by being identified as transgender… AMI stands by its reporting.”
Unfortunately for Simmons, the courts sided with the media company. Over the weekend, the judge threw out his lawsuit against American Media, dismissing the case as “non-actionable defamation.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, L.A. Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian told attorneys:
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“This court finds that because courts have long held that a misidentification of certain immutable characteristics do not naturally tend to injure one’s reputation, even if there is a sizeable portion of the population who hold prejudices against those characteristics, misidentification of a person as transgender is not actionable defamation absent special damages.”
And now, Simmons is left to deal not only with a “prejudiced” reputation, he now must foot the bill.
Page Six exclusively learned that Simmons has legal fees amounting to more than “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” though it didn’t give an exact numerical value.
The Page Six writer speculates that Simmons may appeal the decision, though his team has yet to make an official statement.