Aug. 31 (UPI) — A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has indicated that he will dismiss Richard Simmons‘ lawsuit against the company behind the National Enquirer and Radar Online for publishing stories about the fitness guru undergoing a sex change.
Simmons filed the defamation suit in May against American Media Inc. denying the reports and calling the stories “offensive,” while still showing support for transgender individuals.
In a tentative ruling, Judge Gregory Keosian stated Wednesday that being labeled transgender does not expose someone to “hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy,” Variety reported.
“While, as a practical matter, the characteristic may be held in contempt by a portion of the population, the court will not validate those prejudices by legally recognizing them,” Keosian said of how the publication’s claims do not equal defamation, TMZ reported.
“There are giant segments of society in this country who endorse the kind of prejudice and hatred and shunning of transgender persons in a way that is dramatically different than the way we treat race in this country,” Simmons attorney Rodney Smolla said on behalf of his client.
The lawsuit had said Simmons’ former associate Mauro Oliveira pitched the the stories to The National Enquirer, while he blackmailed his former employer. Simmons said Oliveira previously sold several stories to the publication about the reason behind his absence from the public eye since February 2014.
In April, Simmons shared on Facebook an update on his health and well-being, assuring fans that he was healthy despite his recent medical issues and his absence from the public eye. That same month, he was hospitalized for three days to treat “severe indigestion” before returning home.