Simmons Sues

Don’t call him Fiona!  That’s what Richard Simmons has to say in response to a National Enquirer cover story which proclaimed him embarking on gender reassignment surgery.  Simmons is so pissed off about the story – which came out last June – that he’s suing the publication.  His contention is that the rag chose to accuse him of such a hot-button topic to ensure that he wouldn’t sue – because if he did, it might be construed as being against gender reassignment surgery.  This is kinda like suing for defamation over being called gay – as if being gay is a bad thing.  Wording of the complaint is quite clear: “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.”  Pundits have declared that this is the first-ever defamation lawsuit over published reports about sexual transition.  The only other case I can think of is Bruce Jenner – who never sued, for obvious reasons. 

The complaint also describes the mag’s chief source, Mauro Oliveira, as “an individual who has blackmailed, extorted and stalked Mr. Simmons for several years with the intent of destroying the career and reputation of Mr. Simmons.”  Two days after the Enquirer cover story ran, Oliveira allegedly sent Simmons an e-mail saying that if Richard paid him off, he would “go on record to discredit the story and defend Richard Simmons.”  Did you follow that?  Oliveira tries to blackmail Simmons for money.  It doesn’t work.  He tells the Enquirer he has a story.  They pay him for it.  Then he goes back to Simmons asking for more money, at which point he’d tell the Enquirer that the story they paid him for was a lie?  This is not someone I’d consider a credible source!  According to Simmons’ attorneys, they sent the Enquirer the e-mailed offer to recant and deny the story if he got paid – surely thinking they’d issue a retraction.  Nope.  That’s why it’s now going to court.  And I say, good for you, Fiona…er, Richard.

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