Unclear how this story didn’t immediately come to our attention when it started circulating earlier this week, but better late than never: the company behind Archie Comics has inspired one of the better lawsuit filings I’ve ever read, claiming that co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit consistently harassed male employees by referring to them as ‘Penis’ instead of by their actual names.
Silberkleit has moved to have the gender discrimination lawsuit dismissed, stating that the white men in question aren’t part of “a protected class,” calling allegations against her absurd and saying, “I have not had any interactions with these people. It’s all very puzzling. I don’t know what’s going on in their heads.”
But geez, these allegations! A group of employees including the company’s president and its editor-in-chief claim in their filing that Silberkleit, who took over as co-CEO after the death of her husband in 2008, “used her gender as a weapon” and at one point started yelling “Penis! Penis! Penis!” during a meeting. It’s a word she allegedly used a lot. “[T]he word ‘penis’ became somewhat of a campaign slogan and her preferred method of referring to employees in lieu of their names,” according to their filing.
Silberkleit is also up against claims that she hired Hell’s Angels to intimidate employees, and perhaps most perturbingly, harbored plans to “tart up” the images of Betty and Veronica. The employees are seeking $32.5 million and a court order to keep her two miles from the office.
So, either this legitimately reflects the behavior of the person in charge of America’s most beloved comics franchise, or her employees had the cause or the inclination to make all of this up. Both are intriguing. Perfect news story. More, please.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.