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Richard Simmons is suing several tabloids for publishing false sex-change articles

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Richard Simmons has filed a libel lawsuit against the National Enquirer, Radar Online and American Media, Inc., claiming they falsely published a series of false articles about him having a sex change, according to USA Today

"The cruel and malicious publication of these stories is particularly offensive because Mr. Simmons fully supports individual autonomy and the essential human dignity of every person to make his or her own personal choices regarding sexual identity," Simmons said in the complaint, according to NBC News

Richard Simmons
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In the lawsuit, he said both the National Inquirer and Radar Online have "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. But freedom to speak is not freedom to defame," the complaint said. 

According to People magazine, in the suit, Simmons also claims that his former associate Mauro Oliveira has “blackmailed, extorted and stalked” him. 

Simmons' lawyers also allege that Oliveira contacted several outlets, offering information about the fitness guru's whereabouts in exchange for a fee, according to People.  

The 68-year-old disappeared from the spotlight in recent years and only recently resurfaced. 

In April, he posted a message to his Facebook page reassuring fans that he is not "missing," just feeling a bit under the weather.

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