Archie Co-CEO Silberkleit Still Battling Legal Woes

Archie Co-CEO Silberkleit Still Battling Legal Woes

by December 6, 2013

“The word ‘penis’ became somewhat of a campaign slogan,” Alleges Lawsuit

Just because the copyright battle with Ken Penders is behind them doesn’t mean that Archie Comics no longer has internal issues of its own to tackle.  Case in point: The continuing unraveling of legal issues involving the Sonic comic publisher’s co-CEO, Nancy Silberkleit.

The New York Daily News chronicles a new $32.5 million lawsuit brought against her in October, this time by a group of her male subordinates alleging sexual harassment and other offenses.  Among those joining the lawsuit is Archie’s president Mike Pellerito, and editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick.  In the newspaper’s interview, Silberkleit and her counsel say the suit is without merit, in part because of their belief those plaintiffs aren’t protected under discrimination laws.

Here, according to the article, are excerpts of what is alleged to have happened:

The embattled co-CEO’s filing also mocked the five employees’ claim that she’d used her “gender as a weapon” by yelling “Penis! Penis! Penis!” during a business meeting.

[….]

The lawyers for the plaintiffs [….] countered that Silberkleit used the anatomical term many, many times.

“[T]he word ‘penis’ became somewhat of a campaign slogan and her preferred method of referring to employees in lieu of their names,” their new filing says.

[….]

Silberkleit told the Daily News on Friday that she’s baffled by the bevy of allegations against her, including claims she’s “stalked” employees and made them feel “unsafe.”

[….]

[Silberkleit’s] “deliberate and disturbed campaign of outrageous conduct” has them so freaked out an armed guard’s been posted in the office.

Silberkleit, they say, invited Hell’s Angels to Archie’s Mamaroneck offices in an apparent effort to “intimidate” them, and has repeatedly inquired about the whereabouts of the handgun and 750 rounds of ammo her husband kept at the office.

For her part, Silberkleit denied the allegations to the Daily News:

“It’s cruel and mean and inaccurate,” the former art teacher said.

“I do not act the way it’s been reported,” she said, calling the accusations “extremely damaging to myself and Archie Comics.”

[….]

“I have not had any interactions with these people,” she said. “It’s all very puzzling. I don’t know what’s going on in their heads.”

She added that she’s rarely even in the office.

“I go around the world and promote Archie Comics. That’s what I do,” she said.

You may remember that Silberkleit was the subject of another lawsuit from the other Archie co-CEO, John Goldwater, seeking her dismissal from the company.  A settlement allowed her return and the dissolution of a temporary restraining order.

The bottom line: Ken Penders has not killed Sonic or Archie Comics, but given the level the in-fighting shown here has again been elevated to, this certainly could.  We’ll keep you on top of anything relevant in the matter.