The estate of the late Stan Lee, led by his daughter J.C. Lee, is seeking to sever ties with Camsing International, the parent company of Lee's one-time company POW! Entertainment, alleging that contracts which grant POW! and Camsing the rights to Stan Lee's name and likeness are fraudulent, and thus not legally binding (via The Hollywood Reporter).
These renewed allegations, which echo allegations brought by a previous suit between Stan Lee and POW! that were dropped prior to Lee's death, are fueled apparently due to a probe by the Chinese government into alleged fraud commited by Camsing and the detention of Camsing Chairwoman Vivian Lo in relation to the investigation. The Chinese government alleges that the entertainment conglomerate is guilty of numerous fraudulent activities - including engaging in fraudulent contracts such as that claimed by Lee's estate.
“I cannot tolerate, nor would he have ever tolerated, his name, likeness and rights of publicity be associated with such criminality — criminality that apparently was ongoing at the time Stan allegedly entered into a deal with Camsing and POW!,” J.C. Lee said in a statement. “It is the Estate’s position that neither POW! nor Camsing have any rights to Stan Lee’s name, likeness or legacy.”
“Stan Lee was adamant he never knowingly transferred to POW! any rights any rights in and to his name and likeness outside his employment services prior to his death,” Lee's statement continued, referencing the previous lawsuit, which was filed and settled between May and July, 2018. “The lawsuit accurately represented his feelings towards them. The recent criminal allegations against Camsing, and its jailed chairwoman Vivian Lo regarding their participation in a massive fraud makes it all the more likely that there was indeed merit to my father’s allegations.”
Despite the renewed allegation, Lee's attorney Jonathan Freund stated that there would be no new lawsuit from Lee's estate at this time, preferring to allow the allegations against Camsing to come to fruition, in which case Lee's contract with POW! could be voided with no suit necessary.
“To the extent there is criminality involved at the time of entering any agreement or obtaining rights, the agreements would be deemed void under the law,” said Freund in an email to THR.
POW! has not responded to J.C. Lee's allegations. The company recently announced plans for an animated series based on the adventures of a young Stan Lee.
POW! responded to fraud investigation against Camsing in a July 10 statement, stating that they are an independent U.S. based team with no ties to the Camsing executives accused of fraud.
“The news today is disturbing to us but will in no way impede our single-minded dedication to our mission as the guardian of the legacy of our founder Stan Lee, the greatest storyteller of our time,” read that statement.