- Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for IMDb
- Los Angeles police are investigating allegations of elder abuse suffered by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee.
- A restraining order has been filed against Lee’s caretaker and business partner, Keya Morgan, who was arrested on Monday on suspicion of filing a false police report.
- It’s the latest development in a strange saga that reached new heights in a Hollywood Reporter story that alleged years of elder abuse against Lee by his close advisers.
On Wednesday, a temporary restraining order was issued against Keya Morgan, a longtime business manager and adviser to Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee. The order revealed that Los Angeles police were investigating claims of elder abuse suffered by the 95-year-old co-creator of Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, and Fantastic Four.
It’s the latest development in a saga that reached new heights in a Hollywood Reporter story published in April. The story uncovered a nasty battle over Lee’s estate, and contained allegations of years of elder abuse.
THR obtained an early February declaration signed by Lee and coordinated by his attorney, Tom Lallas. The document claimed that three men, including Morgan, had tried inserting themselves into Lee’s 67-year-old daughter J.C.’s life in order to take advantage of her and Lee – and then gain control of Lee’s assets, property, and money.
Lee’s estate is worth over $50 million, according to Wednesday’s restraining order.
Lallas filed the restraining order against Morgan on Lee’s behalf. Lallas claimed he was pushed out as Lee’s lawyer in February after Lee (or someone else, as THR noted) changed his mind about the declaration. Lallas said Morgan “inserted himself into Mr. Lee’s life” after the death of Lee’s wife last year. The order claimed Morgan took advantage of Lee’s poor hearing, vision, and judgment; moved Lee from his family home; and prevented his family and associates from contacting him.
On Monday, Morgan was arrested on suspicion of filing a false police report against “burglars” at Lee’s home, who were actually police and a social worker conducting a welfare check on Lee.
But there’s more to this story, and to understand how it got to this point, it’s important to understand other details in THR’s story and what surrounded that report.
Accusations of Lee being taken advantage of
According to THR, Morgan and J.C. began “consolidating their power over Lee” after Lee changed his mind about the declaration. Lee’s longtime assistant Mike Kelly was limited to pre-approved, supervised visits; his longtime housekeeper was fired; and his emails were monitored by Morgan, who even filmed Lee condemning the declaration when Morgan learned that THR had obtained a copy.
At 95, Lee is susceptible to being taken advantage of, but he was even more so after the death of his wife of 70 years Joan last July, THR reported. She was also always better with their daughter, J.C., whose outbursts could turn physical at times, according to THR (she denied a particular allegation of slamming Lee’s head against a chair).
Days after THR’s report was published, Lee released a video message (filmed and distributed by Morgan) defending Morgan and denying the claims made.
“You people have been publishing the most hateful, harmful material about me and my friend Keya [Morgan], and some others,” Lee said in the video. “It’s as if you suddenly have a personal vendetta against me and the people I work with.”
To close the video, Lee said, “If you don’t stop these articles and publish retractions, I am going to sue your a– off.”
Outside of the THR report, Lee’s life has been the subject of other headlines as well.
Prior to that article, The Daily Beast reported that Lee’s finances were being drained and a $300,000 check had been written from Lee’s business account without his authorization to a charity organization he formed with Jerry Olivarez. Olivarez contested that Lee gave him the check as a ‘thank you’ for helping him in negotiations with POW! Entertainment.
Lee recently filed a $1 billion lawsuit against POW!, claiming the company that he founded had forged his signature in order to gain exclusive rights to his name and image.
Last month, Lee’s Twitter account posted a written claim that all of his social media other than Twitter had been hacked and was not actually him.
On Sunday, a day before Morgan was arrested, Lee’s account posted another video on Twitter asserting that Morgan was his only partner, and the only person who represented him.
“Anybody else who claims to be my rep is just making that story up,” the tweet from Lee’s account said.
It all adds to a saga that was already strange to begin with. Lee’s troubles this year have been frequent, and with an LAPD investigation into elder abuse underway, hopefully those troubles are resolved sooner rather than later.