An attorney for ex-SLIPKNOT percussionist Chris Fehn says that he was forced to take legal action against his former bandmates because he was presented with a contract that would have effectively relegated him to “second-class-citizen” status.
Attorney Joel B. Rothman told Rock Feed that Fehn was denied access to information about SLIPKNOT and its business during negotiations about the band’s upcoming sixth studio album and accompanying tour.
“First of all, the lawsuit came about because, in order for Chris to continue to participate in the band and attend recording sessions for the album that the band is working on, he was presented with a very onerous take-it-or-leave-it, you’re-not-an-equal-member-of-the-band-type proposal.
“And I’m not gonna go into the details of it, but let me put it this way.
“If you had spent 20 years of your life devoted to an enterprise like Slipknot, where you had given your heart, your soul, your sweat, your blood, your tears to making the band the best it could be the way that so many of its fans love, and then you were told you were a second-class citizen here, I doubt that anyone who’s listening to this would feel any different from the way Chris felt, which was that he wasn’t being given the respect that he deserved.
“And in speaking with his [other] attorneys, what we saw was that Chris, from the beginning of Slipknot, was treated like an equal, and it wasn’t until later after the band had experienced success, that they began to treat Chris like less than that equal.
“And we looked at that, and we said, ‘Well, that doesn’t seem fair,’ based on the facts as we understood them that he began as an equal partner in the band in the beginning, and he should continue to be treated in that same fashion.”
“What appears to have been going on is that management for the band appears to have been doing two things.
“Number one, representing individual members of the band while representing the band as a whole where their loyalties to individual members interfere with their ability to represent the whole band, especially if members of the band aren’t being treated equally. So we noticed that going on.
“And we also noticed that information about the band, and the band’s activities, was being withheld by management from some band members, like Chris, but not from others. And as a result of that, we looked not only at whether Slipknot, the group, wasn’t being fair to Chris but whether Slipknot’s business management, Rob Shore’s company, whether they weren’t being fair to Chris.”
Asked by Rock Feed if Fehn knows what SLIPKNOT was specifically referring to in its statement about Chris‘s exit from the band, Rothman said:
“Not really. The suggestion that Chris did something personally to any member of the band, Chris rejects. The suggestion that Chris isn’t up to it musically is absolutely false.
“In fact, it’s our position that the band is going to miss Chris on the recordings it’s doing, the compositions it makes.
“There’s a reason why Chris is one of the composers on all the band’s work, why he is an important background vocalist and percussionist on all the band’s recordings, and for anyone to suggest that he doesn’t make a valuable contribution, I think, is gonna be absurd to anyone who follows the band.
“The reason why the lawsuit was filed was, as I said before, Chris was denied access to information about the band and its business and he was essentially being proposed that he would be a second-class citizen in the band.
“And that, in our view, was not fair, it wasn’t equitable, and it wasn’t consistent with his role from the very beginning.”