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According to The New York Daily News Nancy Silberkleit, the co-CEO of Archie Comics, is being accused of gender discrimination by five of her male employees. Their reports say Silberkleit has been calling her male employees “penis” rather than calling them by their names. The lawyer representing Silberkleit is trying to get the case thrown out on the grounds that white males aren’t a “protected class.”
Silberkleit didn’t handle the situation with any “class.” She insists that white males can’t be discriminated against and proceeded to yell the word “penis” repeatedly in a business meeting. However, this isn’t really the story, Silberkleit says, claiming “It’s cruel and mean and inaccurate. I do not act the way it’s been reported… extremely damaging to myself and Archie Comics.” However, both the Archie President Mike Pellerito and the Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick both agree Silberkleit has been using the term “penis” as a campaign slogan.
The other CEO, Johnathan Goldwater, filed a lawsuit against Silberkleit back in 2011 and said she wasn’t stable and would ruin Archie Comics. This suit was settled sometime last year with Silberkleit agreeing to have limited interaction with male employees. Then, Samuel Levitin filed a suit claiming Silberkleit should be fired, claiming she wanted to “tart-up” Betty and Veronica, two main characters from the comic book series Archie. In response to this Silberkleit said Levitin was guilty of sexual harassment and wanted him fired instead.
The newest lawsuit is for $32.5 million and is claiming that the co-CEO stalked her employees and made threats which included a time when she asked about a handgun her husband kept in the office (her husband, Michael, was the co-CEO before he died in 2008 and Silberkleit took over). She also brought Hell’s Angels in to scare her employees. Again, Silberkleit denies these claims and says she has little interaction with her employees, as required by the first lawsuit filed by Goldwater.
There’s a lot of he-said-she-said going on here and some of the things Silberkleit has allegedly done are downright bizarre. But there are a lot of bizarre things in this world. Her lawyer’s defense is also insulting. White males aren’t a “protected class?” What happened to the ideal that everyone should be treated equally? I know this case is considered by many very odd because it’s a woman sexually harassing men and the “norm” is men sexually harassing women (though I think Horrible Bosses has become a prime example that the opposite is true), but Silberkleit is reportedly putting her employees through this hell and it shouldn’t matter that they’re white men. She should be punished accordingly.
Does anyone have an opinion on this case? Let me know in the comments below.