Richard Simmons Sues Tabloid Over Sex Change Stories
Simmons' complaint claims the Enquirer's source blackmailed him
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2017 6:47 PM CDT
Fitness guru Richard Simmons.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
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(Newser) – Richard Simmons has a bone to pick with the tabloids. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the fitness guru filed a lawsuit against the National Enquirer, Radar Online, and American Media, Inc. after a series of stories claiming Simmons underwent a “shocking sex surgery” began appearing in June of 2016. Simmons, who returned to the public eye in April after a three-year hiatus, called the articles “cruel and malicious,” and claims that the National Enquirer bet on him ignoring the stories so he wouldn’t appear unsympathetic toward people transitioning genders. The complaint says they “miscalculated," and that "the National Enquirer and Radar Online have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and sensitivity.”

TMZ reports that the tabloids' articles claimed Simmons was living as a woman named Fiona. Simmons’ complaint alleges that Mauro Oliveira, the source used in the National Enquirer’s reporting, was a longtime stalker of the celebrity who tried to sell stories about Simmons for a fee. It claims that while pitching false stories to the tabloids, Oliveira simultaneously attempted to blackmail Simmons, “threatening to destroy his reputation with damaging press coverage unless Mr. Simmons paid Mr. Oliveira to stop." National Enquirer released a statement defending its "credible sources who were in Mr. Simmons’ inner circle," and saying, “We stand by our reporting about Mr. Simmons, and intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit and win public vindication of our reports.”

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