Former members of GHOST have requested a new trial in their lawsuit against the band's leader, Tobias Forge. The four musicians believe the judge who ordered the dismissal of the lawsuit last month had a conflict of interest in overseeing the case since both he and Forge are members of the Swedish Order Of Freemasons (Swedish: Svenska Frimurare Orden)
Forge, who founded GHOST eight years ago, was sued by the four ex-members in April 2017. They accused the singer of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the band's album releases and world tours.
The trial in Linköping District Court lasted for six days, and on October 17, a 108-page decision was released dismissing the case. The four former GHOST members were also ordered to pay Forge's legal fees, which could amount to approximately $146,000.
The musicians — Simon Söderberg (Alpha; member of GHOST from 2010 until 2016), Mauro Rubino (Air; member of GHOST from 2011 until 2016), Henrik Palm (Eather; member of GHOST from 2015 until 2016) and Martin Hjertstedt (Earth; member of GHOST from 2014 until 2016) — have appealed the ruling, and their attorney, Michael Berg wrote in court documents that "it must have been almost impossible" for judge Henrik Ibold "to objectively and impartially assess the probative value of the information that Tobias Forge has provided."
In an interview with NT.se, Ibold denied having known that Forge was a member of the Swedish Order Of Freemasons, but admitted that he had "heard some rumors that it could be so."
The original lawsuit was filed in the district court of Linköping, Sweden, where GHOST was originally based. It claimed that a partnership agreement existed between Forge and the four former members, all of whom performed anonymously in the band as Nameless Ghouls. As a result of the lawsuit, Forge was forced to reveal his identity after years of performing in a mask as Papa Emeritus.
Forge responded that "no legal partnership" ever existed between him and the other members, that they were paid a fixed salary to perform as his backing band, and that they were essentially session musicians.
Söderberg, Rubino, Palm and Hjertstedt have reportedly spent 2.9 million kronor (approximately $320,000) in legal fees on the case so far.
Forge told The Pulse Of Radio that the lawsuit only inspired him to work harder at making GHOST a success. "I had a situation that urgently told me to salvage the situation and reclaim what is mine and also justify that it was mine to begin with," he said. "It's just growing pains, and all this has just been — it's the result of things going well, not the opposite."
GHOST recently embarked on a massive North American fall tour. The trek will wrap on December 15 in Brooklyn.
GHOST's latest album, "Prequelle", landed at position No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. The disc, which arrived on June 1, shifted 66,000 equivalent album units in the week ending June 7. Of that sum, between 61,000 were in traditional album sales.