Archie Comics Sues Co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit for Sexual Harassment
According to TMZ, Archie Comics has filed papers against co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit for allegedly sexually harassing employees, including a 2009 incident where they say she pointed at a series of male employees and yelled “PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS.”
As bizarre and inappropriate as that sounds, TMZ says it was not an isolated incident:
Nancy allegedly pulled the same “penis” stunt again in 2010 — but this time she also screamed out, “My balls hurt.” Archie Comics claims it hired an outside firm to investigate the allegations — and the company recommended Archie cut ties with Nancy ASAP.
The article also mentions that Silberkleit has “a history of bullying and sexually harassing employees,” and Archie Comics is currently seeking an injunction from a judge to prevent her from returning to the office.Silberkleit inherited half of Archie Comics in 2008 after the death of her husband Michael, and in a profile at The Oregonian, Siberkleit described her difficulties as a woman in a workforce comprised primarily of men. “I’m a mother coming into a very male-oriented business,” Silberkleit said. “I’m not getting any support. I felt very alone.”
While these incidents remain unproven, it’s worth noting that feeling isolated in a male-dominated business is no excuse for wildly inappropriate behavior towards employees, particularly if you’re an executive at the top of the corporate hierarchy whose superior position creates an inequality of power. While we may more often hear about incidents of sexual harassment where the genders are reversed, it’s never ok — not between men and women, women and men, or anyone and anyone else.