The lawsuit between former members of Ghost and its frontman, Papa Emeritus, continues to unravel. Papa Emeritus, now outed as Tobias Forge, is under scrutiny from previous members for the way he carried out legal matters. The pith of the debate is that Forge sees the other musicians in the band as hired hands rather than band members; the plaintiffs—‘nameless ghouls’ we’ll call them in lieu of a better option at this point—feel quite differently. The nameless ghouls, now revealed to be Simon Söderberg, Mauro Rubino, Henrik Palm and Martin Hjertstedt, argue that Forge’s opinion of the band’s hierarchy had never been mentioned and had serious legal and monetary ramifications for everyone other than Forge.
Up until unmasking themselves and their frontman became a legal tactic, Ghost had been very strict with its anonymity. The group’s lineup has constantly changed over the years, without the identities of members ever being revealed.
The four plaintiffs met with Forge today in Linköping, Sweden to begin negotiations. The so-called “oral preparation” aimed to clear up any uncertainties about each side’s argument and to investigate the possibility of settlement. The plaintiffs argued in the original lawsuit filed earlier this year in Linköping that the partnership agreement between Forge and the members put Forge in charge of all the band’s—which is being referred to as a company—management duties.
Forge’s response in June argued that no legal partnership existed between Forge and the members. “None of the plaintiffs were present at the time” of Ghost’s formation, it read. Their tasks were limited to the execution and performance of Forge’s ideas, over which they have no claim. He explained that for their efforts the members received a fixed salary. The nameless ghouls disagree, asserting that the band’s management is a much more inclusive affair than Forge states it to be, that all members had a hand in most band activity, but Forge was always legally, yet unfairly, in charge. When asked by CBS Philadelphia how he felt about the issue, Forge said this.
“I actually refer to it as the earlier of the two options. Even though I’ve never wanted it that way, but at the end of the day, that is what it is. So I think it speaks clear for itself. I mean, I started it in 2006, and no one that was ever in the band in 2016 was even on the first record. Call it solo, if you want to, but I call it a project.”
Forge dismissed Ghost’s entire lineup in 2016 to start fresh. He maintains that the project is his alone, and that its participants are merely passing by, though he appreciates their efforts.
Photography Credit: Boston Lynn Schultz