Photo: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble.
Archie Comics has long exemplified good, clean fun. So, it's a major surprise to see its co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit facing sexual harassment charges from five male employees. Her offense? Substituting their names for the word "penis." Plaintiffs in the case include president Mike Pellerito and editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick.
According to the New York Daily News, plaintiffs filed reports that “[T]he word ‘penis’ became somewhat of a campaign slogan..." for Silberkleit. But, her lawyers argue that because the employees aren't from a "protected class of people," their claims aren't valid. (To be clear, they mean because the employees are white males.) And, the filing challenges the notion that calling someone a penis is rude, or emotionally distressing.
This problem has seemingly been brewing for quite some time. When Silberkleit's husband and Archie Comics' co-founder Louis passed in 2008, she took over the company. Ever since then, she's been in a legal battle for control of the company, but her employees claim she's unstable and unable to run the business successfully. To smooth communication and relations between her employees, she hired Sam Levitin, 73, as her liaison. However, Silberkleit now claims Levitin turned against after she rejected "unwanted and improper sexual advances." Levitin claims the trouble between them began not from "sexual advances," but from Silberkleit's desire to make the Archie characters more provocative. In an affidavit, Levitin claims she's "incapable of working with anyone" and "lacks functional communication skills and has an unstable temperament."
At this point, it's hard to say what's true about the case, since it hasn't been fully hashed out in court. But, it's interesting to see the flip side of the gender coin. If the allegations are true, Silberkleit ought to be held accountable the same way a man would, were he accused of similar wrongdoings. (Daily Mail)