The strange saga involving Stan Lee only gets stranger with today’s news that Stan Lee has filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Pow! Entertainment, a company he founded and has since sold to business partners Camsing International Holding. The suit claims that Lee was mislead into signing away exclusive rights to his name and image, with the defendants taking advantage of his advanced macular degeneration.
Since his wife passed away late last year, 95-year-old Stan Lee has allegedly been the target of a number of unscrupulous business partners intent on bleeding him dry, or at least getting a piece of the Stan pie. This has gone as far as the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from his account, and even more concerningly, Lee’s stolen blood being used to sign comics.
Now, Lee is asserting that a document which gives Pow! Entertainment full exclusive use of his name and image is fraudulent and therefore void. Lee founded Pow! in 2001, but last year it was sold to Camsing International Holding, a Chinese company. The new lawsuit alleges Lee was taken advantage of in the sale of the company, done at a time when he was “in great distress” over the loss of his wife.
The suit claims that Stan Lee believes he signed a non-exclusive license for Pow! but never the exclusive license in question. His former business manager, Jerardo Olivarez, whom Lee is suing in a separate case is named as one of the people who contributed to this deception.
You can read the suit in full here:
Also mentioned are Stan Lee’s social media accounts, which have seen a frenzy of recent activity in recent days. It started with this tweet:
Today was the first day I ever did a tweet myself. Before today, my account was done by others. I still do not have control of my Facebook. Someone else is doing it, NOT me.
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) May 13, 2018
In between fairly innocuous tweets like “Happy mother’s day!” and “Excelsior!” Lee unravelled an almost conspiratorial sounding plot that had denied him access to his social media accounts, and still denied him access to his Facebook and Instagram.
While there is a distinct difference between Stan Lee’s tweets before he appeared to regain control, many of the previous tweets were clearly being run by a social media manager, speaking about Stan Lee in third person rather than outright pretending to be him.
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) April 5, 2018
Before this, however, the account posted in first person in a different style again, seeming to talk about his personal experience but still with a professional-seeming tweeter at the helm (Stan’s latest posts, for comparison, have no hashtags or @accounts in them).
#TBT to the set of THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT in 2004, which might be the closest I’ve come to royalty! That’s Queen Clarisse Renaldi next to me, played by a real life Dame herself, @JulieAndrews. pic.twitter.com/p0BlagDY35
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) February 22, 2018
While Lee hasn’t specified who the ‘someone’ is who has access to his other accounts, most of the posts and tweets link back to the Pow! Entertainment website, or are blatant marketing tweets touting the latest Marvel cinema or digital release.
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) March 6, 2018
Lee’s Instagram and Facebook continue to post links to Pow! Entertainment’s site or innocuous ‘throwback’ social media fare like the tweets above.
After all this mess, many were understandably questioning whether the newest tweeter on the Stan Lee account was actually Lee himself, or yet another ‘bad actor’ in the whole affair. Seemingly to clear it up he posted a short video earlier today:
Thank you twitter. I finally learned how to post a video thanks to you guys. pic.twitter.com/SiSqnNakd9
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) May 16, 2018
It seems to be in the same style as a video copyrighted to Keya Morgan and sent to TMZ in April, in which Lee calls out people who “have been publishing the most hateful, harmful material about me and about my friend Keya [Morgan] and some others.” Interestingly Morgan, listed on Twitter as a ‘co-creator with Stan Lee’, has popped up on Lee’s Twitter since the first tweet announcing he had regained control of his account:
I had so much fun at the Avengers film premiere with my dear friend @KeyaMorgan and Vin Diesel. But I think I'm stronger than both of them. Make sure to go and see the film. pic.twitter.com/W0Iw3FqnxD
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) May 15, 2018
Prior to the TMZ video, Keya Morgan was named in a February 13 document as someone with ‘bad intentions’ towards Lee. A report by the Hollywood Reporter alleges that all Stan Lee’s communications are closely controlled by Morgan, who has said he needs to help Stan Lee due to his macular degeneration.
What does it all mean? Will the real Stan Lee please stand up?