Former Ghost members’ lawsuit against frontman Tobias Forge dismissed
The former 'Nameless Ghouls', whose identities remained a mystery until the 2017 lawsuit, have also been ordered to pay half of Forge's legal fees for the inconvenience caused.
Last year, four former members of Swedish heavy metal outfit Ghost sued frontman Tobias Forge, claiming they didn’t receive their proper share of the band’s profits. Following a trial in Sweden last month, a decision was handed down on Wednesday dismissing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was especially noteworthy because it brought an end to the notorious anonymity of the band's members, who usually hide their faces behind masks and makeup. Forge's persona as Papa Emeritus (a parody of the Pope) was central to the band's image and stage presence but he was forced to reveal his identity during the lawsuit.
In 2017, guitarists Simon Soderberg and Henrik Palm, drummer Martin Hjertstedt and keyboardist Mauro Rubino (who together went by the moniker 'The Nameless Ghouls') sued Forge for SEK 200,000 (roughly $22,000) in unpaid compensation, alleging that the frontman controlled the band’s business affairs even though there was a partnership between the former members and Forge. Though the musicians were paid a fixed salary, the foursome argued they had not received their rightful share of Ghost’s profits during their tenure.
They also claimed Forge was trying to transform Ghost "from a band into a solo project with hired musicians" in an "underhanded and shameless way". For his part, Forge has disputed this, claiming that Ghost "was always sort of… I guess a Bathory sort of band, where there was people playing live, and the people playing live [were] not necessarily the same that played on the records." Forge claimed that "no legal partnership" ever existed between the other members and himself and that they were paid a fixed salary to perform and execute the band's image as he instructed.
According to the Swedish website Linköping News, along with the ruling, the former Ghost members were ordered to pay SEK 1.3 million (roughly $145,000) bill. Forge had originally asked for SEK 2 million (roughly $224,000) in compensation, but the district court found that SEK 1.3 million was reasonable.
In an interview with the Guardian back in June, Forge had said of the lawsuit, “A lot of the decisions that I made were based on trying to accommodate people’s wishes, trying to be a friend and set them up for life. That intention seems to have been turned into me trying to fuck people over. That feels like a betrayal because this was not done out of spite at all.”
The former members have three weeks to file an appeal. Meanwhile, Ghost just released a music video for the track 'Dance Macabre', taken from their highly acclaimed 2018 concept album 'Prequelle', which featured at the No. 4 spot on Meaww's half-yearly list of The 25 Best Albums of 2018. Check out the music video below: