Richard Simmons Ordered to Pay National Enquirer’s Legal Fees in Transgender Story Lawsuit

Fitness guru unsuccessfully sued over reports that he had undergone a sex change

More bad news for Richard Simmons.

Fitness guru Simmons, who earlier this month lost a lawsuit against the National Enquirer and others over reports that he had undergone a sex change, must now pay for the costs that the Enquirer and the other defendants racked up over the suit.

The amount that Simmons will have to shell out has not yet been determined.

“It is further ordered that Defendants shall recover from Plaintiff their attorneys’ fees and costs of suit in an amount to be determined by the Court upon the filing of a properly noticed motion,” a judgment filed earlier this week and obtained by The Wrap reads.

Simmons filed suit in May, alleging libel. His lawsuit took aim at reports from the Enquirer and its sister publication Radar Online, which is also named as a defendant in the suit.

The complaint alleged that 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.”

The suit continued, “But freedom to speak is not freedom to defame. 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.”

However, a judge ultimately sided with the National Enquirer and the other defendants, granting their special motion to strike Simmons’ complaint.

“[T]he court now arrives at the heart of this issue: does falsely reporting that a person is transgender have a natural tendency to injury [sic] one’s reputation?” the judge’s tentative ruling read. “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 sizeable portion of the population who hold prejudices against those characteristics, misidentification of a person as transgender is not actionable defamation absent special damages.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.


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