A photographer is suing Guns ‘N’ Roses for copyright infringement and their management for sexual harassment.
On November 11, photographer Katarina Benzova, who worked with Guns ‘N’ Roses on a freelance basis across 364 concerts between 2010 and 2022 — filed a lawsuit against the band and its management company Team Brazil.
According to a report by Rolling Stone, Benzova alleged that Guns ‘N’ Roses “falsely claim[ed] ownership” over her photographs, leading to “widespread” infringement and unauthorized uses in print and digital media, ad campaigns, and other outlets.
The lawsuit comes several weeks after Guns N’ Roses filed its own lawsuit against Benzova, alleging that she “improperly registered” her photos of the band with the Copyright Office and has “falsely alleged copyright infringement against various persons and entities.”
The band is seeking a declaration that Benzova’s registrations are “invalid” and that she has “no ownership interest in the copyright to the subject photographs and videos.”
Benzova also accused the band’s manager Fernando Lebeis of workplace sexual harassment.
Rolling Stone reports that the photographer claims Lebeis made unwanted sexual advances towards her on several occasions since he began managing Guns ‘N’ Roses in 2016.
After Benzona repeatedly rejected him, Lebeis allegedly became aggressive and hostile towards her. The photographer says his harassment escalated to “name-calling, ridicule, demeaning remarks, humiliation, bullying, and lying.”
Benzova claims that Lebeis eventually decreased her photography fee without informing her, withheld payments from her, moved her to cheaper hotels during travel, and insisted that she pay out of pocket for travel expenses that Team Brazil promised to cover and refused to credit her for her photos.
Furthermore, she claims that her efforts to use written contracts with the band were ignored. Lebeis allegedly cut ties with her in October 2022 citing various reasons including “budgetary concerns.”
Benzova believes that Lebeis discriminated against her because she rejected his alleged sexual advances, and claims another photographer for the band Jarmo wasn’t treated in the same way as she was.
“Ms. Benzova was initially contracted to provide tour photography services for Guns N’ Roses in 2010,” the band says in a statement to Loudwire.
“She worked with the band for 12 years and was paid and treated extraordinarily well.
“It was only after her services were discontinued in 2022 that she attempted to claim ownership in photos which her contract clearly states are owned by the band.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.