Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Stan Lee starts $1bn brawl over his name and likeness

ABC  Richard Cartwright ABC Richard Cartwright
Stacy Diaz | 16 May, 2018, 15:29

Stan Lee's ex-business partners took advantage of a grieving old man battling to save his sight and essentially stole his good name. according to a massive new lawsuit.

Lee, 95, co-created iconic comic-book characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and Black Panther for Marvel Comics, and makes regular cameo appearances in the ongoing movie spin-offs.

Lee says previous year Duffy and Champion, along with his ex-business manager Jerardo Olivarez, whom he's now suing for fraud, asked him to sign a non-exclusive license with POW! for the use of his name and likeness in connection with creative works owned by the company. Lee alleges in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday that POW Entertainment and two of its officers, CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion, conspired to steal his identity and likeness.

The suit notes the death last year of Joan B. Lee, the plaintiff's wife of 70 years.

According to the suit, 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". "While the Illegitimate Document purports to contain Lee's signature, Lee never knowingly signed it".

"Given his fame and cultural importance as an American icon and living legend, there is significant commercial interest in the use of his image, name and likeness", said the claim.

Additionally, Lee claims Duffy and Champion "knowingly made material misrepresentations of fact, and forged or fraudulently obtained a signature from Lee to give POW!" Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

The suit suggests that Duffy, Champion or POW! either forged Lee's signature, lifted it from another document or induced him to sign it by telling him it was something else. The complaint also states that Camsing was given access to his Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts against Lee's wishes. He's now suing his ex-business manager Jerardo Olivarez for fraud, while vials of his blood were used for signatures on comics in Las Vegas without him knowing.