Stan Lee in $1 bn law­suit

Khaleej Times - City Times - - HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE -

COMIC BOOKS LE­GEND Stan Lee is su­ing the en­ter­tain­ment com­pany he co­founded for dam­ages top­ping $1 bil­lion, ac­cus­ing bosses of try­ing to steal his image, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments filed Tues­day.

The com­plaint, filed in Los An­ge­les County Su­pe­rior Court and pub­lished by sev­eral US en­ter­tain­ment me­dia out­lets, al­leges that POW! En­ter­tain­ment CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Cham­pion failed to fully dis­close to Lee de­tails of the firm’s 2017 sale to Cam­s­ing In­ter­na­tional.

The en­ter­tain­ment icon con­tends that they took ad­van­tage of him at a time when he was de­spon­dent over the death of his wife Joan and suf­fer­ing from mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, a con­di­tion af­fect­ing the eyes.

The 95-year-old co-creator of many su­per­hero char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Black Pan­ther and Spi­der-Man, al­leges he was duped into sign­ing a fraud­u­lent agree­ment that gave POW! exclusive rights to his name, iden­tity and like­ness.

Ac­cord­ing to the law­suit, Lee was un­able to read the doc­u­ment due to his eye con­di­tion, and he doesn’t re­mem­ber any­one read­ing it to him, sug­gest­ing that his sig­na­ture may have been forged, copied or in­duced.

“In ad­di­tion, POW! took con­trol of Lee’s personal so­cial me­dia ac­counts, in­clud­ing Face­book, In­sta­gram and Twit­ter, thereby im­per­son­at­ing Lee be­fore a com­bined 15 mil­lion fol­low­ers world­wide,” the com­plaint reads.

There has been no re­sponse from POW! En­ter­tain­ment to the law­suit. But in April, the com­pany is­sued a state­ment ex­press­ing con­cern for Lee amid re­ports that he was the victim of el­der abuse.

“We at POW! En­ter­tain­ment take great pride in our con­tin­u­ing work to cre­ate ex­cit­ing new Stan Lee con­tent and char­ac­ters as well as safe­guard­ing the legacy of the great­est sto­ry­teller of our time,” the state­ment said.

“We are also fans and share the heart­felt ad­mi­ra­tion and love of the com­mu­nity who have voiced their sin­cere con­cern for Stan’s well­be­ing.”

There were more neg­a­tive head­lines when it emerged last month that Lee was be­ing sued by mas­sage ther­a­pist Maria Car­ballo for sex­ual as­sault and bat­tery. She ac­cuses him of in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing and mis­con­duct dur­ing two ses­sions last year in Chicago.

Lee’s at­tor­ney Jonathan Fre­und has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions to the Chicago Tri­bune news­pa­per.

Lee has faced a sim­i­lar claim be­fore. In Jan­u­ary, the Daily Mail re­ported on al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault and ha­rass­ment by nurses who cared for Lee at his Los An­ge­les home.

Lee’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives de­nied those al­le­ga­tions.

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