Marvel legend Stan Lee is once again being accused of sexual misconduct, following on from troubling reports that the 95 year old is the victim of an elder abuse scandal.
The co-creator of iconic Marvel heroes, Lee has become the much loved public face of the company over the years; his cameo appearances in Marvel movies are always eagerly awaited, and his presence on many panels have brought great joy to many fans. However, Lee’s impeccable reputation took a battering back in January when, in the wake of the Me Too movement, several women came forward to accuse Lee of sexual harassment .
The women, who had all worked for a nursing agency providing care for Lee, claimed he groped the young female nurses, walked around naked, and demanded oral sex from them. In a strongly worded statement, Lee’s attorney denied the accusations and instead claimed that Lee was victim of an extortion attempt , with the accusers threatening to go the the media with false accusations unless Lee paid a substantial amount of money over. Following on from that, in February 2018, Lee reported to LAPD the theft of $1.4 million from his bank account, not long after $850,000 of his fortune was used by his caregiver to buy a condo. An extremely troubling and distressing report then emerged in the media, claiming that Lee was the victim of long and sustained physical, mental and emotional abuse at the hands of a group of people led by his daughter, J.C. Lee.
Now, Maria Carballo, a massage therapist based in Cook County, has filed a complaint against Lee, and his assistant, Mac Anderson for five counts, including assault, battery, violation of the Illinois Gender Violence Act, emotional distress and civil conspiracy. The law suit states that during the weekend of 21-23 April, 2017, Carballo was booked for two massage therapy sessions on Lee at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. This coincided with the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo taking place. Carballo claims that she cut short the first massage session when Lee began to touch himself in her presence, while groaning.
After she received an apology from Lee, she returned the next day for the second session. When Lee began groaning again, Carballo says she switched to a Shiatsu massage instead, using her feet. At this point, Lee allegedly grabbed Carballo’s foot and moved it to his genitals, at which point she packed up her things and left. In a statement via her attorneys, Carballo says:
“For a long time, I was afraid to ask anyone to help me hold Mr. Lee accountable for how he treated me. He is rich and famous. I am not. After seeing other women fight to be treated with dignity and respect, I decided, me too. I am still nervous and afraid, but not as much as I was before because I have other people helping me.”
There has been no comment from Lee or any of his legal team yet, but these allegations are deeply concerning given all that has happened in recent months. It’s important to listen to both sides of any story, and undoubtedly there’s an awful lot happening in Lee’s personal life right now. It’s very much a case of he-said, she-said, and we might never get to the bottom of it all. Lee attended the world premiere of Avengers: Infinity War last night. Hopefully, these troubling events won’t overshadow the movie’s release.