Former members of GHOST have spoken out publicly on the lawsuit they have filed against the band's frontman and founder Tobias Forge, who performs as Papa Emeritus. The quartet of former Nameless Ghouls have accused Forge of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group's album releases and world tours.
In a statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET, the four musicians said: "As of yesterday, we, four signatories from the band GHOST, have filed a lawsuit with the Linköping District Court. We are suing Tobias Forge ('Papa Emeritus') – the band's lead singer who has also been responsible for the finances of the band since its founding.
"As of the filing of this lawsuit we are requesting that the court, under penalty, oblige Tobias Forge to declare the incomes as well as expenses of the band concerning the years between 2011 and 2016.
"Throughout all the years we have been on tour with GHOST (between 2011- 2016 some of us have performed something like 500 shows with the band) and throughout the band's album recordings, we have neither been allowed to share in the profits of the band, nor have we seen any of the incomes accounted for. The only thing we have received have been minimal advance payments to allow the band to keep going. This despite the fact that we had an agreement that any profits should be shared fairly between the members of the band.
"When we have attempted to raise the issue of the band's finances with Tobias Forge his sole response has been that there are so far no profits to be share, but that everyone will be generously compensated once the band turns a profit.
"The reason that this lawsuit is now being filed is a contract dispute that has escalated during the previous year (2016). Over the last year we have received multiple proposed contracts from Tobias Forge in which he seeks to redefine his role in the band.
"Since the conception of GHOST, our common understanding and agreement has been that we are a band on equal terms, but that Tobias will act as band leader and manage the band's finances through his own companies.
"Through contracts received from Tobias and his lawyers during 2016, Tobias has attempted to make us sign an agreement that implies we are merely consultants working for his company, an agreement also stating that we would receive less that a minimal wage for our contributions to the band. According to this proposal, furthermore we would renounce any and all rights to music royalties. All above despite the fact that some of us have been members of the band since its foundation, investing all of our time in the band during the past five years, with as much right to the recordings and trademark of the band GHOST as that of Tobias Forge.
"Our vocalist and former friend is now attempting to, in a underhand and shameless way, transform GHOST from a band into a solo project with hired musicians. Naturally, this is not something we can accept.
"When, in connection with the 2016 United States tour, approached a lawyer in order to sort out the situation of the contracts, we were informed that Tobias Forge no longer wanted us to participate in upcoming tours. Thus, Tobias Forge is now going ahead with the tour, which started March 24 2017 and is set to end in the U.K. on August 12, on his own together with rented musicians who have replaced all other band members. Tobias Forge has chosen this path of action without any permission from us to carry out the tour on his own. This under the name GHOST, which we regard as our commonly owned trademark.
"The actions of Tobias Forge amount to nothing less than unabashed dishonesty, greed, and darkness. Not the darkness of which GHOST sings, but a darkness that pushes a person to betray his best friends when fame and fortune appear within reach.
"We are terribly sorry that this afflicts the fans of the band as well, and that they too should suffer because of this betrayal and greed.
"We who are suing Tobias Forge are:
Simon Söderberg (Alpha) - member of GHOST since 2010
Mauro Rubino (Air) - member of GHOST since 2011
Henrik Palm (Eather) - member of GHOST since 2015
Martin Hjertstedt (Earth) - member of GHOST since 2014
"The Nameless Ghouls"
Swedish guitarist Martin Persner, who revealed recently that he had played in GHOST and quit in July of last year, is not one of the musicians who filed the lawsuit.
Asked for his reaction to the lawsuit by Swedish outlet Corren, 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."
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 does most of the group's interviews disguised as a Nameless Ghoul.
The new lineup of GHOST is rumored to include musicians who have previously played with THE SISTERS OF MERCY, KORN, PENDRAGON and BLOODBATH.