Thunderball Clothing Shuts Down Following Arch Enemy Photographer Controversy
Thunderball Clothing found itself at the center of controversy earlier this week following an unauthorized re-post of a photograph showing Arch Enemy frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz wearing the company’s products. A war of words between the Arch Enemy camp and the photographer, J. Salmeron, resulted, but Thunderball mastermind Marta Gabriel (also the vocalist of Crystal Viper) handled herself well, at least publicly, issuing a sincere apology in the face of a whole lot of internet venom.
Now it seems all the vitriol directed Gabriel’s way has gotten the best of her, as she revealed earlier today that she has decided to close down Thunderball as a result of “literally hundreds of comments and messages that I’m a whore, a nazi, a communist, a worthless cunt, and that I either should quickly die, or that I should kill myself.”
Before we go any further, I would like to personally offer words of encouragement. Marta: we at MetalSucks are no strangers to hateful, bigoted words directed our way. To say “it sucks” would be an understatement. You’re doing amazing work; you made an honest mistake but then you apologized and, from what I can tell, most of the internet has your back. I sincerely hope you can find the strength to carry on.
Here is Marta’s statement in full via Facebook:
“As many of you seems to follow this story, here’s an update, and a final statement (you can see my previous statement and an apology from December 28 below).
“The photographer, J. Salmeron, accepted my apology for reposting the photo he took, without having his permission, and as this was his request, I made a donation to the charity organization of his choice (the Dutch Cancer Society). I believe we can say this ends the dispute between us.
“However, as I’m not able to handle the amount of hate and threats that I received and keep on receiving, I decided to do what I think is best in this situation. To end the being known as Thunderball Clothing (it’s hard to use a word “company” here, as since day one it was just one person – me). I apologise for not being strong enough, and for not being next Internet hero that keep on saying “haters gonna hate”. Within last 2 days I received literally hundreds of comments and messages that I’m a whore, a nazi, a communist, a worthless cunt, and that I either should quickly die, or that I should kill myself. There is no anger in me, and I apologise everyone that felt hurt or upset by this situation. Anyway, there is no Thunderball Clothing anymore. You won.”
Photographer J. Salmeron of Metal Blast issued a response to the above via Facebook shortly after it went live:
“We are sorry to hear that Marta Gabriel has decided to shut down Thunderball Clothing – Marta Gabriel Fashion & Design as a result of the backlash that she received due to the actions that Arch Enemy took against us after we complained about an IP infringement. This was never our purpose, nor was she the person that we held responsible for what happened.
“According to Marta, after we contacted her due to the unauthorized commercial use of our photo, she was told expressly by Arch Enemy to ignore this matter, since they themselves would handle it. Had she known that the way in which they would “handle” the situation would be to try to strong-arm us, we would like to believe that she would have acted differently. In any case, it is sad to see that Marta, who apologized and made amends for this problem, has suffered this negative consequence, while the people who took concrete steps to harm our careers, to ban us from concerts, have yet to apologize or to accept any responsibility for their actions. On the contrary, since this situation started, the way in which they have handled it has included, but has not been limited to, calling their fans “sheep” for believing our accurate reporting of the situation, accused us of spreading “alternative facts,” accused us of committing the crime of extortion, implied misogyny in our actions, and said that we had sent them “threats” (all the correspondence has been posted, and you can see the truth for yourself).
What Marta made was a mistake, a mistake that in no way justifies her losing her livelihood or seeing her life negatively impacted to this level. She deserves, like all the rest of us, the opportunity to move on from it and to continue her creative career.
“Finally, while we sincerely appreciate the support that we have received from thousands of people from around the world, we categorically and absolutely reject any and all threats of any kind made against Marta, Alissa, Angela or, frankly, anybody else. Nobody deserves to be terrorized, or to fear for their safety, because of things like these. We have received plenty of death threats from fans of the band in the last couple of days, and we have made sure to pass the information to the competent authorities, and we hope that they will do the same, and report every single threat that they received.
“We sincerely hope that Thunderball Clothing – Marta Gabriel Fashion & Design will be able to continue, and that the people who, in the end, left this company and its owner out to dry, will actually take responsibility for the enormous damage that they have caused.
“All the best,
“J & the Metal Blast team”
Meanwhile, Arch Enemy manager (and former vocalist) Angela Gossow has issued another statement following her initial words earlier in the week in which she mostly continues to defend the band’s / Alissa’s position. Here is that statement in full via Facebook:
“Dear whoever is interested in the subject,
“I am reacting to the bully rally this photographer has set lose with his well crafted (he took 6 months to get it done and released), well timed mash up of different subjects at hand.
“The details often get lost in the emotion of the narrative – and the narrative is often controlled by who presents the story first. Mr photographer threw a bunch of different things into one pot and highly emotionalized it. Lets differentiate:
“1) Copyright issue. Arch Enemy did not post any of his pictures, no breach of copyright there.
“Alissa only re-tagged his image and got written permission of said photographer and actually got asked to re-post, after she fearfully removed the said photo. She refrained from doing so.
“Conclusion: Zero involvement oft he band or Alissa in any of the addressed matters. Leave Arch Enemy and Alissa out of it.
“2) Thunderball clothing / Marta: The lady re-posted the picture and said ‘thank you for wearing my custom made outfit’ along with it. Copyright breach, as this can be interpreted as commercial use. Not intentionally, because she wasn’t aware of that fine line – a lot of people on the internet are not actually. Anything you re-post is a breach of copyright actually. She removed as well immediately. She did not react to the donation request because she was not sure if its scam. Donating to a cancer research fund is not going to buy her the rights to use the photo commercially. Only a paid invoice to said photographer would do. So why didn’t he just invoice the 500 EUR and went ahead and donated it to said charity? That would have been much more transparent in every aspect.
“The internet hate campaign has destroyed Marta’s business – all existing customers have cancelled their orders and/or returned their orders. She has received numerous death threads, accusations of being a Nazi and worse. She has closed her shop she built up for 8 years over this. Is mistake really that severe to justify this? NO. Is it justified to destroy an artist over this? NO.
“3) Angela Gossow, management:
“This is an unfortunate situation and a private business conversation that was never meant for public consumption (unethical and contrary to the code of conduct for European lawyers) was being abused for this campaign. I was doing my position in my efforts to aggressively represent and protect my client and her business partner. I’m sorry that this has been made public and the issues are now misconstrued. I am personally shocked by the fact a business dispute turned into such a destructive wave of hate.
“The claim I had him blacklisted with all agents, festivals etc is false! I did inform my circle of people I do not want him in the Arch Enemy photo pit again. I did not ask any promoters, festivals, magazines or whoever to ban him. Mr. photographer, give me one person who has removed you from their payroll because of me. Nobody? Thank you.
“Why I changed some words in my previous posts – I received a legal letter from said Mr. photographer asking me to, otherwise he would pursue me legally for my wordings. The same happened to Alissa and Jeremy Saffer, who took his entire post down. So those going out on the fence defending us are being silenced. Freedom of speech? No, I don’t think so. I am sure I will have to edit some of this post as well because I expect to receive a legal letter from him again within the next 24 hours. Just saying.
“Oh, and I took away the word sheep because those people who damaged Marta beyond repair, who are threatening Alissa and me in very serious ways are not sheep – they are much worse. They are bullies.
“We wish to move on from this and wish Mr Photographer the best with the career.
“You are welcome to discuss on my facebook page – no comments disabled. I will not tolerate any threats concerning my person, my family and my friends. These will be pursued.
“Thank you for your time to read this.