Ghost: Lawsuit Against Tobias Forge by Former Band Members Has Been Dismissed by Swedish Courts
The lawsuit brought against Ghost band leader Tobias Forge by four former band members (“Nameless Ghouls”) has been summarily dismissed by the Swedish court system.
The four plaintiffs, who were forced to reveal their identities as a result of filing the lawsuit — (Simon Söderberg (guitars, “Alpha,” 2010 – 2016), Mauro Rubino (keyboards, “Air,” 2011 – 2016), Henrik Palm (guitar, “Ether,” 2015 – 2016) and Martin Hjertstedt (drums, “Earth,” 2014 – 2016) — were also ordered to reimburse Forge for 1.3 million Swedish Kronor in legal fees (approximately $145,000 USD; Forge originally sought 2 million Kronor, or about $225,000 USD, but the court settled on a more “reasonable” number).
The ex-band members brought the suit against Forge in April of 2017 alleging that he did not share band profits with them despite an agreement that the band was an equal partnership. Forge asserted that the band was never a partnership and that the other members were always hired guns.
I am, clearly, no expert in the Swedish law system, but in the U.S., a summary dismissal means that the lawyers for both sides and the judge went through the evidence together (in this case, six days). The judge then decided that the plaintiffs did not have a strong enough case to proceed and dismissed the case before allowing it to proceed to a full trial in front of a jury. If a summary dismissal is similar in Sweden, we can infer that the judge deemed the plaintiffs did not have sufficient evidence to even attempt to back up their claims. That would be consistent with what’s publicly known about this case, as the four plaintiffs have stated that an alleged equal partnership in Ghost was verbal, not written.
As a Ghost fan — and supporter of musicians in general — this is a tough case to look at. One on hand, from a public perspective it’s difficult to look at Ghost as anything other than a Tobias Forge-directed project. That the musicians claimed it was a partnership was understandable — it may have certainly felt that way at times — but, at least from an outsider’s perspective, that claim seems somewhat dubious. On the other hand, it really sucks that those four musician felt taken advantage of to such an extent that they found it necessary to file a lawsuit. I support musicians and all the hard work they put in, even hired guns, and it’s very possible there were some serious miscommunications as to the status of their membership. There is probably a LOT of information missing here, too, information we simply do not have.
There really is no right conclusion here… the whole thing just stinks. At least all five people involved in this lawsuit can now move on with their lives without this massive distraction bogging them down.