Mon. Aug 3rd, 2020

National Enquirer Argues ‘False’ Stories About Celebrity Richard Simmons’ Sex Change Can’t Be Defamatory

The lawsuit that Richard Simmons filed in May against the publisher of National Enquirer is living up to its potential to explore provocative terrain. On Friday, American Media made its bid to strike his complaint by challenging whether false statements about someone’s gender transition can rise to being defamatory. richard-simmons-purpleThe fitness guru is suing over a series of “cruel and malicious” stories that falsely suggested he was transitioning from a male to a female, including reports of “shocking sex surgery,” breast implants, hormone treatments and consultations on medical castration.

 

Simmons framed his suit as a stand for dignity and the right to have a gender identity, but in an anti-SLAPP motion submitted in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, American Media challenges whether he could have really incurred reputational injury.

 

“Simmons has not, and cannot, make such allegations here,” write the media defendant’s lawyers. “Statements that someone is transgender, or undergoing a gender transition, do not impute the kind of inherently shameful or odious characteristic that can support a defamation claim in modern times. Just as with false imputations of race or homosexuality, which once were considered defamatory, being referred to as ‘transgender’ cannot rationally be held by a court to impute negative characteristics.”

 

American Media, through its attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine, continue by doubting Simmons’ ability to plead special damages.

 

THR first reported the news.

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  AP
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