The Daily Mail, a British tabloid with a reputation for sexist and occasionally libelous coverage, has published accusations from unnamed sources claiming that comics giant Stan Lee sexually assaulted and harassed a number of nurses working in his home. Now, the 95-year-old’s legal team has spoken out and denied the claims.
The report states a company that once provided Lee with professional nurses who gave him 24/7 home care terminated their business with Lee late last year, and that the parting of ways came after multiple nurses complained Lee allegedly propositioned them for sex, touched them inappropriately, and exposed himself to them. The company in question is not identified in The Daily Mail’s story.
In a statement provided to Syfy and The Daily Mail, Lee’s attorney Tom Lalla categorically denied the accusations reported in The Daily Mail and stated that Lee’s legal team was resolute in its commitment to protect the comics legend’s name:
“We are not aware of anyone filing a civil action, or reporting these issues to the police, which for any genuine claim would be the more appropriate way for it to be handled. Instead, Mr. Lee has received demands to pay money and threats that if he does not do so, the accuser will go to the media. Mr. Lee will not be extorted or blackmailed, and will pay no money to anyone because he has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
The claims against Lee come at a time when people across multiple industries are coming forward with stories about workplace misconduct and figures in positions of power using their authority to abuse those beneath them. It’s important to remember that in many cases of abuse, survivors do not feel comfortable coming forward about the events they experienced for a plethora of reasons. So not coming forward right away, or in the “appropriate way,” speaks nothing to the “genuine” nature of their experiences.
To say that The Daily Mail’s word should be taken with a grain of salt is certainly an understatement—the tabloid has been successfully sued for libel several times— but anyone who comes forward with a story about sexual assault should be taken seriously.