Archie Comics CEO Nancy Silberkleit stands accused by six employees of gender discrimination for among things allegedly calling them “penises” during business meetings to harass and intimidate them.
The employees are seeking $32.5 million in civil damages for claims that she allegedly engaged in “destructive, dangerous, and at times deranged behavior.”
Silberkleit, whose father-in-law helped found the company, took over as co-CEO in 2008 when her husband Michael passed away. She has categorically denied the allegations. There have been other legal entanglements at Archie Comics since Silberkliet, a former teacher, came on board: “She has been locked in a long-running legal battle over control of the company ever since — with employees accusing her of being mentally unstable and running the comic company into the ground.”
According to the New York Post, she allegedly also “tried to get a Hell’s Angel to come to headquarters to intimate her underlings.”
Silberkleit told the New York Daily News that the gender discrimination and other allegations were inaccurate and that “I do not act the way it’s been reported,” and that the accusations were “”extremely damaging to myself and Archie Comics.”
In a legal filing this week, her lawyers argued that the workers had no legal claim because five of them, including the company president and editor-in-chief,were white men who aren’t considered a protected class under civil rights law.
Silberkleit, 59, is running for mayor of Rye, N.Y., and also heads an anti-bullying foundation.
Her lawyers may have to brush up on their legal research, however. In general, civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of any race or gender. Also, employees over 40 have legal protections from age-based bias against them.
The workers’ complaint argues that “While World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan did not stop the publication of Archie Comics, the war-like attitude and approach of Defendant may destroy Archie Comics unless this Court intervenes.”