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Simmons Assault Charge Exorcised

Fitness expert Richard Simmons looks toward the crowd during a Project Lift aerobics class at Zeeland East High School Saturday, Jan. 25, 2003, in Zeeland, Mich. (AP Photo/The Holland Sentinel, Brian Forde)
AP
An assault charge against exercise guru Richard Simmons, who was accused of slapping a man at an airport, has been dropped.

Simmons, the outlandish 55-year-old known for his exercise videos, was accused of slapping a 6-foot-2, 250-pound ultimate cage fighter, reportedly in retaliation for a sarcastic remark.

The fellow passenger recognized Simmons, known for his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" series of exercise videos set to songs from the 1950s and 60s, in March at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport as they were waiting for a flight to Los Angeles

The man "made the off-hand comment, 'Hey everybody. It's Richard Simmons. Let's drop our bags and rock to the '50s,'" said Phoenix police Sgt. Tom Osborne in March. "Mr. Simmons took exception to it and walked over to the other passenger and apparently slapped him in the face."

The passenger was not injured but chose to press charges, police said. Simmons was cited for misdemeanor assault and then permitted to board his flight.

The cage wrestler, identified as Christopher Farney, agreed to drop the misdemeanor charge against Simmons, according to court documents filed May 19. The documents didn't specify why the charge was dropped.