The wave of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual misconduct in entertainment has washed over a new industry icon: Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics.
As much as this headline will hurt a lot of geek culture fans, it is nonetheless true: multiple women have come forward to accuse the ninety-five-year-old Lee of sexual misconduct, with the comic book guru making a statement through his legal team that the accusations are "categorically" false.
As Daily Mail reports, Lee has been accused of the following by in-house nurses working at his West Hollywood home:
- Stan Lee is accused of sex abuse by a nursing company employed to care for him (for upwards of $1,000/day), and stopped working with him after a string of complaints.
- Young female nurses complained he demanded oral sex from them, groped them, and walked around naked.
- Lee's lawyers have sent a cease and desist letter to the company which employs the women, accusing it of defaming Lee.
Here's the official statement from Stan Lee by way of his lawyer, Tom Lallas:
"Mr. Lee categorically denies these false and despicable allegations and he fully intends to fight to protect his stellar good name and impeccable character.
We are not aware of anyone filing a civil action, or reporting these issues to the police, which for any genuine claim would be the more appropriate way for it to be handled.
Instead, Mr. Lee has received demands to pay money and threats that if he does not do so, the accuser will go to the media.
Mr Lee will not be extorted or blackmailed, and will pay no money to anyone because he has done absolutely nothing wrong."
The nursing company will not reveal its name, hoping to protect the identity of the employees making the accusations against Lee. It's been reported that after a string of complaints, the female owner of the company (who has nursed Lee personally in the past) hit her breaking point with the situation. A source reports that after the owner started openly talking about Lee's bad behavior, the gossip got back to Lee and created the current legal storm. The nursing company continues to allege abuse, with Lee countering with a claim of defamation. Lee and the company reportedly parted ways at the end of last year.
A new nursing company, Vitale Nursing Inc., has stepped in to handle Lee's care, and rep Julie Wozniak claims that Lee has been "polite, kind and respectful," and that "It has been a privilege to care for him."
Various unnamed sources seems to paint conflicting (if not confusing) pictures. One source claims the truth of the situation is quite ugly:
"Stan is an old man who has seemingly lost his way.
He doesn't seem to care what people think of him, he's lost his filter. There has been a stream of young nurses coming to his house in West Hollywood and he has been sexually harassing them. He finds it funny.
He walks around naked and is vulgar towards the women, he asks them for oral sex in the shower and wants to be pleasured in his bedroom. He uses the word p***y and f**k in their presence.
He's also very handsy and has groped some of the women, it's unacceptable behavior, especially from an icon like Stan."
A different source defends Lee:
"People think because of Stan's age he's an easy target and he can be forced into giving them money.
I don't believe these allegations...Stan is being taken advantage of."
In addition to Lee, his "right hand man" and confidant, Max Anderson, has been accused of "intimidating and frightening" the nurses, helping to back Lee's abuse. The fact that Anderson has multiple convictions for domestic abuse of his own wife and son doesn't help this current situation.
Lee already had a hard year in 2017: he lost his wife Joan, whom he'd been married to for seventy years (the couple has one daughter, J.C. Lee). More recently, he was robbed of $300,000 due to a fraudulent checking incident.
We'll keep you updated about how the situation develops.