Enlarge Photo Credit: J. Salmeron for Metal Blast

Arch Enemy Take Heat for Banning a Concert Photographer

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Update, December 30th, 8:51pm EST: Thunderball Clothing owner Marta Gabriel has decided to shut down the company as a result of hate mail received following this incident. More details here.

Original Post:

A concert photographer for Metal Blast has explained in detail how he was blacklisted by Arch Enemy. This story is a bit of a long one, so strap yourselves in.

The photographer, J. Salmeron, posted a photo on his personal Instagram of Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz that he took at the Fortarock festival in Nijmegen, the Netherlands this past June. White-Gluz reposted the image on her own Instagram, and then a clothing company called Thunderball Clothing — whose products White-Gluz can be seen wearing in the shot — re-posted it, too, and that’s where the problems began.

Mr. Salmeron took issue not with White-Gluz’s repost — artists share his work all the time (as do fans), and he’s happy for the exposure — but with a company using the image to promote their product without his permission. So he did the sensible thing, and sent the company a polite email explaining the situation, stating that while he usually charges a licensing fee of €500 for such commercial use of one of his photos, he would be happy to let them continue to use it if they’d make a €100 donation to the Dutch Cancer Foundation. A completely reasonable ask.

What happened next is well documented in this post at Metal Blast, including full text of all the emails and messages sent back and forth. Marta Gabriel of Thunderball Clothing (also vocalist of the band Crystal Viper) took the image down and forwarded the email to Arch Enemy’s manager, Angela Gossow (also their former vocalist). In the series of messages that followed, Gossow and White-Gluz became antagonistic towards Salmeron, and shit went south very quickly resulting in the ban.

As the story spread yesterday, fans came out near-universally in support of the photographer. Pressure began to mount, and White-Gluz, Gossow and Marta have now all issued statements on the matter. White-Gluz’s and Gossow’s words were mostly defensive, attempting to portray Salmeron’s initial contact as both ungrateful and rude in tone, while Marta’s was completely apologetic. In light of those statements, fans have continued to rip into Arch Enemy for refusing to just apologize for misunderstanding Salmeron’s request (It seems they jumped to conclusions without reading in full or completely understanding his emails, i.e. claiming that he “demanded” €500), and you can see the extent to which the band is currently facing serious backlash in the comments on each statement’s Facebook post.

You can catch up on the whole saga up until yesterday at Metal Blast, then read statements by White-Gluz, Gossow and Marta Gabriel / Thunderball Clothing at those links. The irony here is that Thunderball, whose unauthorized use of the image kicked this whole thing off, got a ton of unplanned publicity out of it and comes out looking good in the end, while Arch Enemy… not so much.

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