Stan Lee appears to have been the victim of elder abuse at the end of his life.
In April, 2018, a video appeared on YouTube that changed everything. It was recorded on a cellphone at the Silicon Valley Comic Con, a comic book convention where Stan Lee was a star attraction. In the grainy video, the 95-year-old creator of Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Panther, X-Men and others appears unable to sign his name. Which is important to note, because Lee and his handlers were there to sell his signature for $120 a pop. A dark-haired man in his 40s, dressed like an MTV gangster, in a black skinny suit, black fedora and sunglasses, coached the barely cognizant writer through the task.
The man, later identified as Lee’s former business associate Keya Morgan, spoke to Lee as if he were a child, schooling him on how to spell his name. “Stan Lee. S-T-A-N …” Morgan spelled it out again and again as comic book after comic book was slipped in front of the white-haired Lee.
In the video, Lee looks unsteady, propped up in a chair, while a line of fans snakes out of the frame, each waiting for a chance to meet their hero. Though only 58 seconds long, the video is painful to watch. In the dark humor of the internet, it came to be known as “Weekend at Stan’s,” after the 1980s cult-comedy film Weekend at Bernie’s, in which two low-level insurance guys drag their dead boss’s body around to persuade his friends he is still alive. Fans who observed this tragedy took to the event’s Facebook page in outrage. “That man is a legend and you shuffled him around like he was a bag of money!” one wrote.
But as with many cases of elder abuse, it’s hard to tell who the guilty parties are, or whether the abuse occurred at all.
Abuse of the elderly routinely cloaks itself in love, which is, in many cases, returned by the victim. The perpetrators might even call love their motivation.