The band Ghost was known for its mysterious anonymity, but this image was shattered when legal disputes arose.
In 2017, a lawsuit was filed by former members of Ghost, namely Simon Söderberg, Mauro Rubinho, Henrik Palm, and Martin Hjertstedt, against the lead vocalist Tobias Forge. They claimed that Forge had withheld their rightful earnings and benefits.
As the legal battle became public, Forge, who was only known as Papa Emeritus at the time, didn’t hesitate to respond with his own counterclaims.
He vehemently denied having any official partnership with the quartet and rejected their status as former bandmates. Instead, he portrayed them as temporary contributors to Ghost’s music.
Forge emphasized Ghost’s history of frequent collaborations with various musicians, highlighting numerous lineup changes that showcased the band’s inconsistent composition.
However, the main accusation was that these individuals undermined Ghost’s desired anonymous image.
Despite the back-and-forth claims, the court decided to examine the lawsuit. The turning point came when Forge’s legal team presented documents that revealed the lack of formal contractual agreements between the accusers and Ghost. This played a crucial role in the court’s decision to rule in Forge’s favor in 2018.
The aftermath of the legal battle was covered by a notable Swedish publication, which focused on Forge’s victory and the financial consequences faced by Söderberg, Rubinho, Palm, and Hjertstedt. This group was burdened with a significant $1.3 million in legal fees.
Although some critics believed that Forge intended to transform Ghost into a solo project, his perspective was actually different.
He frequently mentioned his desire for Ghost to follow in the footsteps of bands like Bathory, where there was a clear distinction between studio contributors and touring musicians. Forge saw Ghost as a constantly evolving entity, never remaining stagnant.