New York, NY– While the Archie Comics are wholesome, hailing from a more innocent era, things going on behind the scenes are not so innocent and are getting downright nasty. Two years after the comic book’s CEO, Nancy Silberkleit was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit; she has filed a counter-claim in a tit-for-tat war between the exec and her former co-executive.
In her suit, Silberkleit, 59, accused her former liaison, Sam Levitin, of making unwanted sexual advances and threatened to have her ousted when she refused her advances.
The battle of the execs, began in 2011, when Levitin and other employees accused Silberkleit of being “unstable” and trying to make the lead female characters, Veronica and Betty, more provocative.
“This is not Penthouse or Playboy,” Levitin said in court documents, according to the New York Daily News, and stated “she will greatly damage the business” if she remained in her top position.
Silberkleit, who inherited the comic after he husband Michael, died. She hired Levitin to be her liaison after she became locked in a legal battle with Archie Comics Productions and co-CEO Jon Goldwater, who wanted to fire her.
They alleged that she was disposed to throwing tantrums and was unreasonable, the Daily News reported. In one incident, Silberkleit allegedly burst into a business meeting and shouted, “Penis! Penis! Penis!” before storming out of the room.
Court documents indicate that things between Levitin and Silberkleit, who have been friends for forty years, started to go south at the comics headquarters in Mamaroneck, New York, last year when she rebuffed his numerous sexual advances.
Silberkleit also alleges he leered at her, asked her if she planned on getting breast implants and threatened her.
Levitin denied hitting her and in an affidavit said she treated him and other Archie employees like crap.
“She lacks functional communication skills and has an unstable temperament,” Levitin said.
He also accused her of disrupting business meetings by talking on her cell phone and leaving during meetings.He accused of failing to understand the objectives of the business meetings.
Her attorney, Paul Jaffe said ACP’s and Levitin’s accusations against his client are “untrue.”
Initially, Levitin believed that Silberkleit was being railroaded by the company and Goldwater, but after working with her he realized she was a bit unhinged. Late last year, Levitin filed a suit to have her fired as the company’s head.
Not willing to be take things lying down, Silberkleit filed claims of sexual harassment against Levitin and ACP in April, seeking to have Levitin fired from the company.
An independent firm hired by Archie said that her claims of sexual harassment were unfounded, but it will be up to a court to decide if Silberkleit’s allegations are true.
It may not be clear whose side of the story is true, but what is apparent is that the Archie workplace is a hostile environment and this battle between the former friends will likely rage on until one of them is fired or voluntarily leaves.