Stan Lee is widely known as the kindly grandfather of superhero comic books. He looks like the kind of guy who'd scoop you up, sit you on his knee and then regale you with an amazing story of spandex clad super-powered heroes. However, according to his former assistant, he's much more likely to call you a "fucking idiot."
On Tuesday, Stan Lee's former assistant Shawn Lukaszewicz filed a civil action lawsuit against Stan Lee, his wife Joan Lee, daughter Joan Celia Lee, POW! Entertainment and Fatalagata for a range of complaints. Chief among them are claims that Lee and his family caused Lukaszewicz intentional emotional distress during this employment. In addition to this, he is also suing for multiple labor code violations and wrongful firing.
According to Lukaszewicz, he was first hired by Lee in November in order to set up and manage Stan Lee's booth at the ComiKaze convention. However, it seems Lee was unimpressed with his efforts, and has been accused by Lukaszewicz of saying he had done a "shitty job," adding the booth looked "fucking embarrassing."
Despite this apparent dressing down, Lukaszewicz was then hired by Lee to become his full-time executive assistant which included duties such as "launching and managing websites, managing social media for Joan Celia Lee, and running personal errands for the Lees." It was a 40-hour a week job, for which he would receive $40 an hour. He was also on-call at all times of the day, and would not receive overtime payment for errands run outside of working hours - of which there were many.
However, soon after being hired, Lukaszewicz claims he became a victim to the Lees' constant insults. For example, after being asked by Lee's daughter to drop some documents at Lee's house, he was reportedly told by Lee to "get the fuck out and never ring my damn doorbell again." Furthermore, only two months after being hired, his pay was apparently cut to $25 an hour.
The abuse also reportedly came from Lee's daughter, after posting an image of Joan Celia Lee online - at her behest - he was called "fucking stupid" and threatened with losing his job.
Another alleged incident involved Lukaszewicz helping Joan Celia Lee organize her birthday party. Lukaszewicz planned to fly back east to attend his mother's own birthday but was asked at the last minute to delay his trip in order to set up Lee's daughter's party. For this he claims he was promised reimbursement for the canceled flight and money for a new plane ticket. When Lukaszewicz brought this up, he was apparently berated in front of the party guests, with Joan Celia Lee calling him a "retarded asshole."
In fact, many of the times Lukaszewicz was apparently subject to abuse, it was for carrying out orders given to him by one of the Lees. In May 2015, Lukaszewicz was driving Lee to a meeting with boxer Manny Pacquiao. When Pacquiao failed to arrive, Lee supposedly called Lukaszewicz a "fucking idiot" adding, "you wasted my time. Now everyone at the office thinks you are a fucking asshole."
Even his good deeds did not go unpunished. When he brought Joan Lee an easter basket as a present, she reportedly flung into a rage, screaming, "You must be fucking retarded. What the fuck is wrong with you? Why do I need a fucking Easter basket? There must be something wrong with your brain." Her attorney rang him the next day to apologize, claiming she "was just drunk."
The manner of his firing was also apparently incredibly harsh. Lukaszewicz was driving Joan Celia Lee to San Francisco in June, during which, he claims, she smoked marijuana almost the entire way. Before going into the hotel, she told him to drive around the block with the windows open to get rid of the smell. When Lukaszewicz reminded her he was not getting paid for this, she snapped and yelled, "Get out of my fucking car. You are done. You are done."
This seems a far cry from his persona on and off screen. Check out all of his famous Marvel cameos in the video below:
He was then abandoned in San Francisco with no money and left to make his own way back to Los Angeles.
When Lukaszewicz brought up these concerns with the Lees or anyone associated with them, he was reportedly told to keep quiet and be thankful. He claims he was "constantly reminded how lucky he was to work for the most powerful people in the industry and he, therefore, should 'suck it up' and be thankful for the abuse."
The result of the stress of his job reportedly left Lukaszewicz with psychiatric and internal injuries which led him to seek legal representation and claim for the injuries. As a response, the Lee's reportedly "embarked on a further course of disparaging the plaintiff and accused him of criminal conduct."
It should be pointed out at this time, that this is simply the submission of a lawsuit. There is still a long way to go before any of this arrives in court, if it ever does. Before that point it's just as likely it will be settled out of court, withdrawn or maybe even counter-sued.
However, do you believe the Lees could behave like this?