Chicago masseuse sues Stan Lee for alleged sexual misconduct
Maria Carballo is suing for assault, battery and emotional stress and is seeking $50,000 in punitive damages
A Chicago-based massage therapist has sued Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee over alleged sexual misconduct.
Maria Carballo filed the suit on Monday in Cook County circuit court, and which names Lee and his assistant Mac “Max” Anderson, who arranged the massage appointments.
Lee has denied all allegations through his attorney.
The complaint lists charges including assault, battery and emotional stress, and Carballo is seeking over $50,000 in damages, according to documents obtained by People.
Lee, 95, denied the allegations through his lawyer Jonathan Freund, who told the Chicago Tribune that Lee was shocked by the allegations.
“He is a high-profile public figure and I think it’s a shakedown,” Freund told the Chicago Tribune. “The man is 95, I don't think he would do that.”
According to the complaint, Lee hired Carballo for a two-hour massage on April 21, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chicago while Lee was in town for an annual comic expo called C2E2.
About 30 minutes into the massage, Carballo alleges that Lee “began to fondle himself” while he was face down on the table. Later in the massage, Lee allegedly began moaning as Carballo massaged his legs. Carballo immediately became uncomfortable and ended the massage, the suit says.
Later, Carballo claims Lee began moaning again,and she attempted to end the massage. According to the complaint, Lee stood up, naked and angry, and demanded that Carballo continue the massage. She says she agreed to 10 more minutes, fearing his reaction if she did not continue.
Carballo switched to a shiatsu massage method, which uses only the masseur’s feet, in order to keep her distance, the Chicago Tribune reports. According to the lawsuit, “Lee grabbed [Carballo’s] foot and moved it against his penis and scrotum.” Carballo says she immediately ended the massage, collected $240 for the appointment and left. Before she got on the elevator, Lee’s assistant allegedly gave her a big tip in cash.
The next day, Carballo says her boss called her asking that she massage Lee again. She initially refused, but her boss pressed the issue by apologizing for Lee’s behavior and told about the importance of “appeasing VIP clients,” according to the complaint. Eventually, Carballo agreed as she was afraid she would lose her job, she says.
She did not report the situation because she was “fearful that, in light of Lee’s wealth and status, reporting the incident to police would hurt her job,” the lawsuit states.
“For a long time, I was afraid to ask anyone to help me hold Mr. Lee accountable for how he treated me. He is rich and famous. I am not,” Carballo said in a statement provided to Page Six. “After seeing other women fight to be treated with dignity and respect, I decided, me too. I am still nervous and afraid, but not as much as I was before because I have other people helping me.”
Lee’s business partner, Keya Morgan, told TMZ that Lee is “completely harmless” and “100 percent innocent.”
In January, the Daily Mail reported claims from an unanimous source who alleged that Lee sexually harassed and groped a number of female home health nurses. Lee’s attorney at the time, Tom Lalla, denied all accusations against his client.