Fans are seriously worried about comic book legend Stan Lee after disturbing video emerges
Most people will recognize 95-year-old Stan Lee for his numerous cameo appearances in Marvel movies - and for good reason. After all, he created most of them, co-creating Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and Black Widow. His estate is estimated to be worth up to $70 million, and it's been reported he receives $1 million a year from Marvel, but his finances may be in trouble.
Lee requires nursing care at home and on the road but insists on still visiting comic conventions, signing autographs for thousands of fans. However, according to an article published by The Hollywood Reporter, there is a battle raging over Lee's estate that may involve elderly abuse. Members of his inner circle have reportedly been misusing his fortune, and interested parties have further exploited him following the death of his wife last July.
The document the website obtained explained how he and his wife set up a trust for his 67-year-old daughter Joan Celia, known as JC, due to her economic troubles. Lee's attorney at the time, Tom Lallas, went through the document line by line before it was signed by the comic book writer. It explains how JC has "never held any meaningful job" and has been unable to support herself, blowing away her parent's money and demanding more each time.
"When JC and I disagree," Lee wrote, "She typically yells and screams at me and cries hysterically if I do not capitulate to her demands." Altercations with JC even turned physical in the past, with one event leaving her mother with a large bruise and Lee with a contusion on his skull. In addition to this, the document explains that three men with "bad intentions" influenced his daughter, taking advantage of both her and Lee.
The document explains that Jerry Olivarez, Keya Morgan and JC's attorney, Kirk Schenck all "insinuated themselves into relationships with JC for an ulterior motive and purpose" in order to "gain control over [Lee’s] assets, property and money". Keya Morgan seems to be in the most dominant position, with Olivarez believing he has been distanced from Lee by a smear campaign.
Morgan, a noted dealer in rare American memorabilia, was name-dropped in the document, but after the declaration was notarized Lee fired his attorney and apparently changed his mind. In the time since, Morgan has become central to Lee's life, apparently monitoring and composing his emails because of his poor eyesight.
THR reports that Lee has a "people-pleasing habit" of telling people what they wanted to hear, makes bad financial decisions like never cashing in on Marvel properly, and has a "Depression-bred distrust of banks" - which it is rumored led him to hide cash all over his property. With these features and the death of his wife, many believe he may be vulnerable to those who want to exploit him.
Linda Sanchez came on board as one of Lee's nurses following the death of his wife and said that she witnessed moments where he was exploited by his inner circle. However, she claims Morgan made it clear to her that he would go to the media about a past DUI and misdemeanor hit-and-run incident if she were to report her claims. Later, the Daily Mail reported what Sanchez described as a fabricated physical relationship between her and Lee, as well as detailing her record. When asked, Morgan claimed he didn't leak anything and bears her no ill will.
Since the article has been released, Stan Lee released a video dismissing all the claims made. In the video, he claims the document is "totally incorrect, inaccurate, misleading and insulting" and is calling the entire story fake news. "My relationship with my daughter has never been better," he said, "and my friend Keya Morgan and I also have a great relationship … anybody who is saying anything [else] … is just spreading lies."
Many have found the video a little disturbing, especially since the man filming the statement is Keya Morgan himself. Fans are coming together to support him, including filmmakers and fans Kevin Smith, Seth Green and Felicia Day.
Bradley Herman, Lee's former business and asset manager said of the matter:
"I'm on the verge of tears, because it breaks my heart to see somebody that I love being effectively held prisoner. He finds himself in need of a superhero himself."
The full Hollywood Reporter article is worth reading in full, as it covers the complex story in depth. It is clear that, regardless of who is telling the truth, there are some people out there exploiting Lee's vulnerability and trusting nature for their own ends.