12:51pm PT by Gary Baum
Stan Lee's Company Worried Over "Upheaval" in His "Personal Management and Life"
Pow! Entertainment, the production company Stan Lee co-founded in 2001, has released an open letter expressing its concern about the well-being of the 95-year-old Marvel Comics creator and hope that he’ll be able to “spend his time going forward without impediment or stress.”
The letter, provided to The Hollywood Reporter, follows claims in a feature story on April 10 about alleged physical and financial abuse by his daughter J.C. Lee and several feuding men. In a now-disputed legal declaration signed on Feb. 13, the Marvel mastermind had described three of those men as possessing “bad intentions” and an interest in gaining “control over my assets, property and money.” All competing parties have denied claims against them and insist they have Lee's best interest at heart.
One of the men, Keya Morgan, has been releasing short videos to media outlets in which Lee — battling pneumonia in recent months — vociferously defends Morgan and J.C. Lee and disavows any improprieties. Concerns over Lee’s welfare have simmered among his devoted fans after he appeared tired and ill at Silicon Valley Comic Con during the weekend of April 7-8. The event was nicknamed “Weekend at Stan Lee’s” on comics news site Bleeding Cool, a cruel reference to the 1980s corpse comedy Weekend at Bernie’s. Lee’s appearance “was not the normal Stan disposition, which is usually loaded with an endless energy and exuberance that fans around the world have come to love and admire throughout the years,” Pow! wrote in the open letter.
Chaos in Lee’s inner circle has followed the death of his wife of nearly seven decades, Joanie, last year. It’s resulted in claims of death threats, sexual assault, espionage, theft and self-dealing.
One incident that raised concern is a March 15 after-hours visit by Morgan and J.C. to Lee’s Pow! office suite in Beverly Hills, where Lee remains a salaried employee. The duo took unknown materials and the company subsequently contacted the LAPD. Lee later defended the pair to THR in a Morgan-provided video in which he said he asked his daughter and associate to “bring me back some personal artifacts that I had there that I felt should be at my house and not in a foreign office.” He added, “Right now the people at Pow! are making an issue of it. I don’t understand. But there’s a lot at Pow! I don’t understand.”
Another feuding associate, Jerry Olivarez (also later listed as an individual with “bad intentions” in the disputed declaration), told THR that Morgan had previously wanted Lee to quit Pow! and enter into an arrangement with a business contact of Morgan’s.
The full text of the Pow! Entertainment letter is below.
An open letter to the fans
We at POW! Entertainment take great pride in our continuing work to create exciting new Stan Lee content and characters as well as safeguarding the legacy of the greatest story teller of our time. We are also fans and share the heartfelt admiration and love of the community who have voiced their sincere concern for Stan’s well-being.
We have been respectful of Stan’s health issues and have given him the time and space necessary to convalesce. We have also respected his privacy as he deals with the upheaval within his personal management and life. However, upon seeing the many public videos and testimonials of Stan at Silicon Valley Comic Con and multiple other disturbing news reports, we feel we must add our voice to the legion of fans and creatives who are speaking out.
As many have noted, what the videos from SVCC showed was not the normal Stan disposition, which is usually loaded with an endless energy and exuberance that fans around the world have come to love and admire throughout the years.
We, like you, simply want Stan to enjoy life, connect with his fans when he is able, and most importantly spend his time going forward without impediment or stress.
One thing we know for certain is when something is off, the fans bond together. We are touched by the outpouring of love for our Chief Creative Officer and friend, and we proudly stand with you for Stan.
Your thoughts matter, please find it in your heart to Speak Up For Stan!
The POW! Family