Female plaintiff joins #MeToo movement with claims of assault, battery, violation of the Illinois Gender Violence Act, emotional distress and civil conspiracy against Stan Lee
CHICAGO – Apr. 23, 2018 – Maria Carballo, a massage therapist based in Cook County, has filed a complaint against renowned comic book creator, Stan Lee, and his assistant, Mac Anderson. Ms. Carballo’s complaint contains five counts, including assault, battery, violation of the Illinois Gender Violence Act, emotional distress and civil conspiracy.
The suit states that during the weekend of April 21-23, 2017, Ms. Carballo performed two massage therapy sessions for Lee in his hotel room at a Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Records indicate that the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo was taking place that weekend at the neighboring McCormick Place convention center.
Ms. Carballo alleges that during her first massage session, Lee began to fondle himself while lying face down; later, while Ms. Carballo was massaging his quadriceps, Lee began to moan and groan. Feeling uncomfortable, Ms. Carballo ended the massage early and left the hotel room.
Ms. Carballo claims that her employer requested she return the following day to perform another massage therapy session for Lee. Receiving an apology from Lee and fearful of losing her job, Ms. Carballo returned the next evening for the session. The suit alleges that one hour into the massage, Lee, again, began moaning. In order to create distance from Lee, Ms. Carballo performed a Shiatsu massage, in which hands are replaced by feet. Within minutes, Lee took her foot and moved it against his genitals. Once Ms. Carballo freed herself from his grip, she promptly gathered her belongings and left.
Ms. Carballo’s complaint follows similar allegations of sexual misconduct made by Lee’s in-home care providers earlier this year.
Ms. Carballo 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. 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.”
Ms. Carballo is represented by Cunningham Lopez LLP and The Cochran Firm. Alexandra Lopez of Cunningham Lopez LLP states, “Women all over the country, especially women in the hotel and service industry, have experienced the pain and embarrassment of being treated like chattel. Whether the men are powerful and influential like Stan Lee, Donald Trump or Bill Cosby, or just everyday businessmen, women deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Maria knows that she is in for the fight of her life, and we intend to battle with her every step of the way.”