UPDATE: Stan Lee's attorney has issued another statement regarding the allegations.
Marvel mastermind Stan Lee is being accused of sexual misconduct by several women who work for a nursing company he previously employed. Lee is strongly denying the accusations.
Lee - the co-creator of laundry list of Marvel heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, and countless others - has become something of a goodwill ambassador for Marvel, appearing in lighthearted cameos in virtually all of their live-action films. The 95 year old has also been a near constant fixture at comic conventions, an enthusiastic champion of the geek culture he had a significant hand in creating.
However, new allegations suggest Lee is not nearly as altruistic as his creations. According to The Daily Mail, a nursing company employed to care for Lee have accused him of groping young female nurses, walking around naked, and demanding oral sex from them. Lee's lawyers deny the allegations, suggesting the company is attempting to extract a cash settlement from him. They have issued an official statement on the matter, saying "Mr. Lee categorically denies these false and despicable allegations and he fully intends to fight to protect his stellar good name and impeccable character."
This is just the latest in a string of sexual misconduct allegations against high profile men in the entertainment industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp was the first to go public with disturbing allegations of misconduct by Kevin Spacey. Spacey was swiftly fired from his Netflix series House of Cards and had his scenes in the Ridley Scott film All The Money In The World reshot with replacement actor Christopher Plummer. Louis C.K. acknowledged long rumored allegations of misconduct against him were true, resulting in his movie I Love You, Daddy being pulled from its planned release; C.K.'s longstanding relationships with FX and HBO were also terminated. Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and Paul Haggis have all been accused of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to outright rape.
Despite the floodgates opening against powerful men, Stan Lee may end up being the most shocking of all. The 95 year old Lee is one of the most beloved figures in the entertainment world, and is in many ways the public face of Marvel. This is certainly not the sort of headline Marvel wants to be dealing with as they launch their next film Black Panther (created by Lee and Jack Kirby). Nevertheless, this is the sort of shocking fallout that's going to keep happening as Hollywood's very public reckoning with abusers marches on.
Marvel fans may be horrified by this news, but the women who Lee allegedly harassed deserve to be heard. It seems highly unlikely this will be the last high profile revelation of sexual misconduct, but if would be perhaps the most disappointing, if accurate.
Source: The Daily Mail