Lady at (penis!) Archie Comics sounds like (penis!) loads of fun to work for (penis!)
So it looks like Yr Doktor Zoom has landed on the Comix Beat today, what with that funnybook review we did earlier, and then a story about unoriginal cartoon character Allen West, and now this bizarre story about a gender discrimination suit against the co-CEO of Archie Comics. The Universe is sending a message, and that message is “time to get to work on that My Little Pony meets Maus crossover fanfic, buddy.” (To be fair, the Universe tends to mumble.)
So! Attend the tale of Nancy Silberkleit—her tongue was harsh and her tact was slight. She’s being sued for gender discrimination by a group of male employees who allege that, among other things, she was in the habit of calling them “penis” instead of referring to them by their actual names. The suit also claims that, during at least one business meeting, she just started yelling “Penis! Penis! Penis!” Sounds like a typical day at TerribleNewsForTerriblePeople.com, frankly.
Also, because this case wasn’t weird enough already, a filing by Silberkleit’s attorney says that the suit should be dismissed since white males are not members of “a protected class.” This should be a super-fun case to follow, don’t you think? Maybe the problem is that Silberkleit simply has a brain full of Archie Comics?
In any case, in the inevitable base-covering of attorney-speak, it never happened, and if it did, nobody was harmed:
“Plaintiffs fail to allege that any such comments were directed at any of the plaintiffs in particular, or they could cause extreme emotional distress even if they had been,” her court filings say.
Silberkleit denies that she’s said or done any of the nasty stuff that she’s accused of, calling the allegations “cruel and mean and inaccurate,” and insisting “I do not act the way it’s been reported[.]”
The discrimination suit isn’t the first legal action that Silberkleit has had to defend since taking her late husband’s place as co-CEO of Archie Comics after his death in 2008. Jonathan Goldwater, her opposite number at the company, sued to force her out in 2011, claiming that she was unstable and that she’d threatened to deliberately destroy the business. That suit settled in 2012 with an agreement that a go-between would represent her in interactions with the company, but the arrangement fell apart when the go-between, Samuel Levitin, filed suit himself earlier this year,
charging that she’d become unhinged — and even wanted to tart up beloved characters Betty and Veronica. He said she needed to be removed altogether.
Silberkleit responded with claims Levitin had sexually harassed her — and demanded that he get the boot. That case is still pending.
Oh my. Wonder if there were any wacky misunderstandings about who asked whom to the prom?
As the multiple suits move forward, Silberkleit is happily insisting that she never said anything untoward, and that the employees’ accusations that she invited Hells Angels to come down to the office to scare them, and that she repeatedly talked about finding her late husband’s handgun and ammo, are “untrue and twisted.”
“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.”
Besides, she is far too busy to even go into the office and call anyone a penis, she explains: “I go around the world and promote Archie Comics. That’s what I do.” She’s an enthusiastic booster for the brand, insisting “Everyone has that, ‘I heart Archie’ in them, and I’m proud of that.”
It’s probably all just an innocent misunderstanding. Anyone familiar with Betty and Veronica knows how girls get.