“Oh man, not Stan Lee!?” was my morose reaction earlier this week when the Marvel comics icon and creator of innumerable superhero legends was hit with disturbing sexual misconduct claims. The 95-year-old was accused by his former carers of inappropriate sexual behaviour and assault, and they’ve now been joined by a female masseuse who was working at a Chicago hotel when she came into contact with Lee.
She alleges that she arrived to give him a massage only to find him and his manager Max Anderson intoxicated. As she tried to set up, she says he was “out of control,” groping her and asking if the two could have sex. She refused and began to carry out the massage she was hired for, only for him to begin masturbating during it.
Following the incident, she apparently made an official complaint to Stan Lee’s representatives, which have kicked off a whole bunch of behind the scenes meetings as they work out what to do.
Lee’s legal team says that he completely denies the allegations and that this is merely a “shakedown” – an attempt to extort money from an elderly, wealthy man. It’s notable that they don’t deny that Lee and Anderson met with the woman though and it would fit with the pattern of behaviour that his nurses have reported.
Frankly, this is the kind of story I don’t want to believe. After all, Stan Lee is an absolute legend in his own right and I don’t want this to mar his final years. I’m also suspicious that everything here is being reported in The Daily Mail, a borderline fascist British tabloid with a notoriously shaky grasp of the truth.
For now, though, I’m going to have to side with his accusers, sit tight and stay attentive for further developments in the case. As always, we’ll let you know as soon as we have them.