The National Enquirer has now lobbed another claim at reclusive fitness guru Richard Simmons — that he’s a big hypocrite.
After reporting that Simmons is undergoing a sex change — and getting sued for it by Simmons — the National Enquirer published a scathing response to Simmons’ lawsuit Monday afternoon, calling the beloved fitness icon “hypocritical.”
“For decades, Richard Simmons has used his outrageous behavior to build his brand and his bank account,” the Enquirer’s response reads. “For Mr. Simmons to claim that his privacy has been invaded is hypocritical when his entire livelihood is based upon the public consumption of his image.”
The publication went on to say that, while Simmons recently signed a merchandising deal with a branding company “to handle licensing of his name and likeness,” Simmons also protests ” that he is entitled to privacy and therefore should not be subjected to scrutiny of the media, which has raised reasonable questions about his health and whereabouts since he disappeared from the public eye almost four years ago.”
The Enquirer — along with sister publication Radar Online and their parent company, America Media Inc. — were slapped with the libel complaint earlier Monday.
According to the complaint, the publications “have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and sensitivity. Principles of freedom of speech and press may protect their prerogative to mock and degrade the LGBTQ community.”
However, in its response, the Enquirer insisted that it takes no stance on gender transitioning, and again accuses Simmons of hypocrisy — or at least of being “ironic.”
“Mr. Simmons is raising a false equivalency in suggesting that The ENQUIRER’s coverage of gender identity somehow implies that the publication has a stance or position on this. We do not,” the response reads.
“Indeed, it is ironic that Mr. Simmons claims to be an avid supporter of the LGBTQ community while at the same time alleges that he was defamed by The ENQUIRER report that he had transitioned into a female,” the publication continued.
With conspiratorial flair, the Enquirer added that it will continue to investigate Simmons’ life, “and who is really behind this bizarre and meritless lawsuit.”
In response to the suit, the Enquirer also posted multiple photos purported to depict Simmons in women’s clothing, though reports of Simmons cross-dressing are nothing new — he famously and fabulously went drag in his 2014 music video “Hair Do.”