According to Corren.se, GHOST lead singer and founder Tobias Forge — who performs as Papa Emeritus — is being sued by four former members of the band who are accusing him of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group's album releases and world tours.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the district court of Linköping, Sweden, where GHOST was originally based, claims that Forge solely controlled the band's business affairs without input from anyone else in the group. The four musicians furthermore state that a partnership agreement existed between them and Forge which put Tobias in charge of carrying out the company's management duties.
The former GHOST members are asking the court to order Forge to disclose the company's revenues and expenses for the financial years 2011 to 2016 as well as to reveal the company's assets as of December 31, 2016. If he fails to act as ordered, they are asking the court to force Forge to pay a penalty of SEK 200,000 (approximately $22,000),or an amount that the court considers reasonable.
According to the lawsuit, GHOST was formed in 2010 and Forge, through his company, has been collecting all revenues from the sale of the band's merchandise and music recordings. The GHOST leader did not at any time provide the other musicians with the company's financial statements, the lawsuit claims, and has instead insisted that the company was not yet profitable.
In 2012, GHOST's economic situation became particularly dire when the bandmembers did not receive any compensation. Under pressure, Forge paid sporadic amounts out to the other musicians while continuing to claim that the company's bank accounts were empty.
During 2016, the GHOST bandmembers received two separate contract proposals from Forge that they rejected on the grounds that they saw them as "slave agreements," the lawsuit says. Meanwhile, relations between Forge and the other musicians became increasingly chilly, with guitarist Martin Persner — who is not one of the four people behind the lawsuit — quitting the band in July 2016.
On December 20, Forge, through his lawyer, contested the four musicians' claim that GHOST was a partnership.
Asked by Corren.se for his reaction to the lawsuit, Forge said: "I can't comment on it because it is a legal process. The lawsuit will be answered fairly soon by my legal counsel."
The new, predominantly U.K.-based lineup of GHOST — which is rumored to include musicians who have previously played with THE SISTERS OF MERCY, KORN, PENDRAGON and BLOODBATH — gave its first live performance on March 24 as the band kicked off its 2017 "Popestar" European tour in Norwich, England.
Since the musicians wear masks and are only identified as Nameless Ghouls, personnel changes in the group over its seven-year existence have gone unannounced.
Forge writes almost all of the group's music and does most of the act's interviews disguised as a Nameless Ghoul.