Stan Lee is suing his former entertainment company POW! Entertainment for $1 billion dollars, on the basis that his partners, POW! CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion, either tricked the comic creator into signing over exclusive rights to his name and likeness, or outright forged his signature.
TMZ reports the lawsuit deals with the 2017 sale of POW! Entertainment to Camsing International, a Chinese-based company. According to Lee, he was unaware the sale was taking place, as he was in the middle of a tough period in his life with his deteriorating vision and his wife Joan’s death. In order for POW! to be sold, Lee would have had to sign the agreements, which he claims is something he’d never do. In fact, a quote from the lawsuit calls Lee’s name “the most important and prized possession Lee and his family owned his entire life.”
The site goes on to state how Lee wouldn’t give Disney the rights to use his name when the studio bought Marvel’s movie rights for $4 billion in 2009, which could be used as an example to why Lee wouldn’t forfeit his name in this case.
“Lee does not recall anyone reading the Illegitimate Document to him, and, due to his advanced macular degeneration, he could not have read it himself,” attorney Adam Grant wrote in the complaint, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “While the Illegitimate Document purports to contain Lee’s signature, Lee never knowingly signed it. Either Duffy, Champion, Oliveraz [sic] or POW! (1) forged Lee’s signatures; (2) lifted Lee’s signature from another document and imposed it on the Illegitimate Document; or, (3) someone, likely one of the Defendants, induced Lee to sign the Illegitimate Document by using a bait and switch tactic: telling Lee it was something else.” Jerardo Oliveraz is Lee’s former business manager, who he is also suing for fraud.
It’s been a busy few months for the comics legend. Last week, Lee posted what he called his first real Tweet, claiming previous posts from his official Twitter account weren’t actually made by him. Today, Lee claimed his Facebook and Instagram accounts were hijacked, and he was being impersonated.
Help! Someone has hijacked my Facebook and Instagram. I want everyone to know whoever is writing them is a fraud and is impersonating me. How do I get them back? Can you guys help?
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) May 15, 2018
Of course, these new developments come on the heels of Lee’s denied allegations that he’s been the subject of elder abuse. In a fiery video released last month, Lee repeatedly threatened to sue those responsible for what he characterized as “slander.”
The elder abuse allegations were made against Lee’s daughter J.C. Lee, with a notarized declaration by the 95-year-old comics creator that indicated three men, including his current primary caregiver Keya Morgan, had tried to take advantage of J.C. in an effort to gain control over Lee’s “assets, property and money.”
In a subsequent video recorded by Morgan, Lee denounced the signed declaration, and insisted he had great relationships with his daughter and friend Morgan.
Joan Lee, Stan Lee’s wife of 70 years, passed away in December at age 93. Since then, one of Lee’s associates has been accused of stealing $300,000 from his bank account, and using $850,000 of his money to buy a condominium. The same person is alleged to have forged an order for a nurse to draw “several vials” of Lee’s blood, which a recent report suggests was used to create ink to sign comic books.
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