Entertainment website The Hollywood Reporter has posted a round-up of the current plight of comic book legend Stan Lee with some detail that had not previously been made public, though much of it is information based on the conflicting accounts of various parties involved who are currently at odds.
One key part of the THR piece is a document signed by Stan Lee that outlines several troubling matters regarding Stan's current situation and his state of mind. Bleeding Cool has been in possession of this document and others for several weeks as well, but has not published them. In my opinion, the accuracy of the statements in the document is difficult to determine without an extensive investigation into the matter, which Bleeding Cool has been undertaking in earnest since February 15. As the THR piece itself notes, the veracity of the document is disputed by some parties involved in the situation.
As THR also notes, this document was notarized on February 13, as was an additional document signed by nurse Linda Sanchez, which THR references but does not publish. Two days later, on February 15, the Daily Mail reported on an incident involving police during which they were seen removing Max Anderson from Stan Lee's home.
As Bleeding Cool noted at the time, The Daily Mail originally stated:
LAPD officers were seen entering the home just before 2pm and DailyMail.com understands Adult Protective Services (APS) was also in attendance APS is typically dispatched to deal with allegations of 'elder abuse', according to the LAPD, although it's not clear whether Stan Lee, 95, is the victim
Bleeding Cool contacted the LAPD on the evening of February 15 to attempt to confirm this, and could not. Eventually, the police report was posted by TMZ. What was actually the cause of the police visit?
And this gets to the heart of an issue that looms large in this situation but has gone undiscussed so far: In my opinion, after spending countless hours going over documents and discussing the contents of interviews that Bleeding Cool Editor-in-Chief Rich Johnston has conducted with numerous parties involved — the press is being used to support various points of view against others. And in general, the press has not done an adequate job vetting statements and claims it has received in this matter.
In other words, yes: welcome once again to the social and analytics-savvy world that we now all live in, where everyone is aware that social opinion can be made to influence outcomes. Even very important outcomes.
In my opinion as BC's managing editor, when taken as a whole, the complete details of the contents of the Stan Lee and Linda Sanchez documents have not been supported by additional available evidence to my satisfaction at this time. It is important to note that this does not mean that the documents are false or fraudulent. But BC has spent dozens of hours interviewing people involved and talking to attorneys close to the matter, and in my opinion we still don't have the necessary clarity on this matter, which I think will only come from direct interview with Stan Lee by detectives and perhaps other professionals at this point.
Further, Bleeding Cool has received almost verbatim quotes from several parties which now appear in the THR article. We've published very little of it as of yet. On numerous occasions over the past week, we have received accounts of specific events from several parties involved which are directly contradictory. Everyone involved in this matter knows that they are under press scrutiny from multiple news outlets, and are conducting themselves accordingly. Bleeding Cool has heard about the THR investigation from multiple sources in recent times. Each person involved was acutely aware of the implications of that investigation, and some where even aware of what other parties had told THR, according to one of our sources.
This is a reality of the world we live in, of course. And this is by no means to imply that award-winning THR journalist Gary Baum doesn't know a tall tale when he hears one from a source. I am absolutely certain that he does.
But I'm not sure that either news sites as a whole or our readers have made the adjustment to the post-Truth world quite yet — the world where you have to question the source, intent, and motivations of almost every bit of information you see online, at the sub-atomic level.
There's some good, new info in the THR piece, and it's worth your time. There's info there that I'm very skeptical of as well, but you should take a look and decide for yourself.
Someone suggested to me recently that maybe it's time for fans who have adored Stan at his countless convention appearances over the years to let it be known that they're standing up for him now, when he seems to need it. A hashtag #StandByStan was suggested to me as well. I think perhaps now is the time.