While C2E2 may have been drawing most comic book eyeballs this weekend, the New York Times had a great piece about the behind-the-scenes drama at Archie Comics that has led to court battles over the control of the company:
What Mr. Goldwater refers to as “the boiling point” was reached in May 2011 when a female employee threatened to file a harassment complaint against Ms. Silberkleit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mr. Goldwater hired a lawyer and commissioned a human resources consultant to investigate the accusations of workplace abuses; Ms. Silberkleit was the only member of the company who declined to be interviewed. The report, released in June 2011, concluded her absence or removal was advisable, and in July, Mr. Goldwater began legal action against her. According to Mr. Goldwater, all two dozen employees volunteered to supply affidavits bemoaning Ms. Silberkleit’s conduct; Ms. Silberkleit termed that proof of a Machiavellian palace coup engineered by Mr. Goldwater.
After a series of court rulings against Ms. Silberkleit that included a $500 fine — for violating the temporary restraining order by twice showing up at the office in mid-December with a former football player in tow — and responsibility for $59,000 in legal expenses accrued by the company, last month the hostile parties agreed to take their problems to mediation. Ms. Silberkleit’s 50 percent share of the company is not in jeopardy, but her job may be.
Some of this has been public knowledge for some time, but the piece has a lot more information, and puts everything into a clear context, suggesting not only reasons for the conflict between Goldwater and Silberkleit, but also reasons for Archie’s relatively recent bid for the title of Most Progressive Mainstream Publisher, what with the Kevin Keller storylines, the upcoming “Occupy Riverdale” storyarc and the company’s wholehearted embrace of digital before anyone else. It’s an interesting, somewhat eye-opening read.