Five days ago, the Hollywood Reporter made a series of claims of elder abuse involving Stan Lee, calling for an intermediary to step in.
Three days ago, the Warner Bros-owned TMZ reported that Stan Lee was denying any charges of elder abuse being carried out against him, with a sub-head "Stan Lee is mad as hell over reports he was being abused and taken advantage of" along with with an exclusive video copyrighted to Stan's new representative Keya Morgan supplied to them. This was re-reported in plenty of other places who took TMZ's line.
But yesterday Lee began suing over charges of elder abuse against him, specifically Jerry Olivarez, one of the people named in the Hollywood Reporter article. His suit says more widely:
"Lee became the target of various unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists who saw a chance to take advantage of Lee's despondent state of mind, kind heart and devotion to his craft-a devotion that often allowed him to overlook the bad intentions of others when it came to his property."
Intriguingly, in their report, TMZ linked to a number of previous reports regarding Stan Lee — but not the one two days previously in which they said Lee would sue anyone who claimed elder abuse of him. It no longer fitted.
If that seemed incongruent, it is worth mentioning that Stan Lee was very careful with his words and didn't say "elder abuse" in that video on TMZ once, despite it being in the headline. Instead, he talked about "hateful, harmful material" and those who had "decided that people were mistreating me and therefore you are going to publish those articles."
And the first of his legal actions made public has been against Jerold "Jerry" Olivarez alleging elder abuse, the man behind the controversial Hands of Respect company that created the so-called Stan Lee blood comics, with allegations of embezzlement from Lee, which Olivarez denies.
We understand Olivarez first met Stan Lee in 2010 at a red carpet event for Iron Man 2 when working at the Palm Court branch of cinema chain Brenden Theatres. You can see him in the video below, walking with Stan and his then-manager Max Anderson.
We understand from people close to those involved that Stan initially hired Jerry to work with his daughter JC Lee over a number of her proposed projects, one of which became Hands of Respect, but eventually became involved with Stan's own business plans.
I am also told to expect this to be the first of three such suits — one against the company that Stan founded, POW Entertainment, and one against his manager Max Anderson.
The suit, filed by Stan Lee's most recent legal counsel at Freundlegal (though it misspells Hands of Respect up top) does mention 25 John Does, suggesting that others may be named during the pursuit of the case.
And while Morgan is not mentioned, under Stan Lee's accomplishments it mentions Lee's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from 2011, which is where we understand Morgan was first introduced to Lee at the party afterwards by mutual friend-at-the-time Alan Duke. Morgan had brought Buzz Aldrin to the event.
The full suit can be read below. Olivarez has not returned messages sent to him by Bleeding Cool at any point, though he has strenuously denied such allegations to others, including the Hollywood Reporter.
According to California Welfare and Institutions Code 15610.30, which is referred to in the lawsuit below, financial abuse of an elder occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:
(1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.
(b) A person or entity shall be deemed to have taken, secreted, appropriated, obtained, or retained property for a wrongful use if, among other things, the person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the property and the person or entity knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder or dependent adult.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property when an elder or dependent adult is deprived of any property right, including by means of an agreement, donative transfer, or testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder or dependent adult.
(d) For purposes of this section, "representative" means a person or entity that is either of the following:
(1) A conservator, trustee, or other representative of the estate of an elder or dependent adult.
(2) An attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of the power of attorney.