It was only six episodes of about a half an hour each, but Missing Richard Simmons made a huge impact. It was the top podcast in iTunes for much of its run and it put the fitness guru back in the news.
Spoiler alert: Richard Simmons isn't being held against his will. He isn't ill or transitioning or any of the other "theories" the podcast explored. As he said in a statement last June, he simply wants to live quietly
Missing Richard Simmons was created by Dan Taberski, a former Daily Show producer and customer at Simmons' fitness studio. Taberski, calling himself a "friend," claimed genuine concern for the celebrity as he dug into this "mystery."
|Simmons and Taberski|
Simmons has confirmed he's okay. Police have conducted welfare checks and confirmed he's okay. His spokesperson has repeatedly confirmed he's okay. Yet the podcast attempted to get to the heart of this "mystery" and possibly draw Simmons out of retirement. (Because people are "missing Richard Simmons"...get it?)
The question is, at what point are we just invading someone's privacy for our own entertainment? Tabloids and legitimate news sources have dug into the lives of celebrities for years, occasionally even after they've left the spotlight. With a podcast, though, it goes beyond a simple news story...or does it?
This story does have a twist, though. Earlier this week, Simmons' manager announced the celebrity has signed a merchandising deal and may emerge from hiding soon.
Does it feel like an invasion of privacy now???