Former members of GHOST have appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against the band's leader, Tobias Forge. Forge, who founded the group 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 in October 2018, 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 since appealed the ruling, and the case has now been referred to the Göta court of appeal in Jönköping, where it will be heard in March 2020.
The 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 reportedly spent 2.9 million kronor (approximately $320,000) at least 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's latest album, "Prequelle", landed at position No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. The disc, which arrived in June 2018, shifted 66,000 equivalent album units in its first week of release. Of that sum, 61,000 were in traditional album sales.