Richard Simmons’ lawsuit against The National ENQUIRER and Radar Online has been hit with an early ruling by L.A. Superior Court judge Gregory Keosian — who disputed the diet guru’s claim that the magazine “injured” his reputation by reporting that he had been transitioning into a woman.
The judge was ruling if The ENQUIRER and Radar Online articles were “in furtherance” of free speech — and also whether calling someone “transgender” in this day and age is like calling someone “gay” in the 1950s.
“Simmons must be able to show, as a threshold matter, that the allegedly defamatory statement on its face was the type of statement that would ‘naturally tend’ to injure one’s reputation,” wrote Judge Keosian.
Keosian also said in his ruling that the judge understands that being transgendered can subject a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule.
However, he added that “the court will not validate those prejudices by legally recognizing them.”
Simmons had said in his lawsuit that The ENQUIRER articles that claimed he was transitioning into a woman were “cruel.”
Attorneys for The ENQUIRER, however, had responded with an anti-SLAPP motion in July — insisting that calling someone transgender in this day and age can hardly be considered a smear.
Courtroom observers have already referred to the early ruling as a “victory for trans rights.”