Stan Lee is seeking more than $1billion in damages from his former company POW! Entertainment – claiming that he was tricked into signing a deal that saw him give away rights to use his name and likeness. View the lawsuit below.
The sum, equating to around £740million, comes from a lawsuit in which the 95-year-old alleges that POW! co-founder Gill Champion and CEO Shane Duffy brokered a “sham deal” to sell off the company to Camsing, of which Duffy is also Vice President.
Lee accuses the pair of conspiring “to fraudulently steal Lee’s identity, name, image and likeness as part of a nefarious scheme to benefit financially at [his] expense” – following his “devastating” decline in health due to macular degeneration. The 95-year-old Marvel founder and comic book mogul also claims that Champion and Duffy “never disclosed the actual terms of the deal to Lee before closing it”.
“We have seen the copy of Mr Lee’s complaint posted on Deadline Hollywood,” POW! Entertainment told The Guardian. “The allegations are completely without merit. In particular, the notion that Mr Lee did not knowingly grant POW! exclusive rights to his creative works or his identity is so preposterous that we have to wonder whether Mr Lee is personally behind this lawsuit.
“There is no question Mr Lee – who, along with his daughter, was and remains a substantial POW! shareholder – clearly understood the terms of the agreements he signed. The evidence, which includes Mr Lee’s subsequent statements and conduct, is overwhelming and we look forward to presenting it in court.”
In February, Lee revealed that he had been fighting pneumonia.
As concern continued to grow around the 95-year-old’s care and wellbeing, Kevin Smith invited Lee to come and live with him earlier in April.
“This is heartbreaking,” Smith wrote. “We love you, @TheRealStanLee. You are always welcome to come live with me — or please let us fans buy you a new place to live. We miss you, sir.”
In an emotional video to his fans earlier this year, Lee said: “I haven’t been in touch with you lately. I had a little bout of pneumonia I’ve been fighting, but it seems to be getting better.”
“I want you all to know I’m thinking of you, of course I always think of the fans, and I hope you’re all doing well, and I miss you all.”
“I miss your enthusiasm, I miss all your notes, all your photos and emails… and I want you to know that I still love you all.”
Meanwhile, it was also recently reported that a masseuse is suing Lee for alleged sexual misconduct during two massage sessions in April 2017.
Maria Carballo filed a suit against Lee and his assistant, Mac Anderson, on Monday (April 23). She is seeking over $50,000 in punitive damages and attorney fees. Carballo has also filed a criminal complaint with Chicago police, who are investigating the allegations. Lee is accused of fondling himself, moaning loudly and grabbing Carballo’s foot and touching it against his genitals.
He strongly denies all allegations.