Judas Priest, Rob Halford Sued by Longtime Manager
Not even the Metal God is immune to lawsuits. Judas Priest's leather clad vocalist Rob Halford is being sued by his longtime personal manager John Baxter. Baxter is suing Halford, other members of Priest and the band's management team. It's a legal clusterf--- if there ever was one.
What is Baxter suing over? Fraud, breach of contract and intentional interference with contractual relations. To top it off, he wants $50 million in damages for his troubles. Yikes!
According to Rolling Stone, Baxter represented Halford from 1982 until this past August, when he was fired because the relationship had run its course; he was also accused of not acting in the band's best interest. It's obviously a knotted mess, since Halford has a personal manager different from the collective band's manager.
After the firing, Baxter claimed that Halford owed him millions in back commissions, salary and expenses from as long ago as 1992. Hmmm. Sounds a bit fishy, especially since managers are paid to watch over business affairs, which often includes their own cut and commissions. He has an answer for that argument and line of reasoning, saying that Halford repeatedly claimed he was unable to pay him at the time, but promised he would make good on his debts when he was financially solvent.
Barry K. Rothman, who serves as Baxter's lawyer, told Rolling Stone that the firing "was wrongful termination because there's no basis to have terminated. They have their own agenda. Baxter has been managing [Halford] for decades. Judas Priest was coming to an end and the Judas Priest people wanted to engage Halford in his solo endeavor and to continue to have a relationship with him which was not possible with Baxter in the middle. There's a whole reason why this all of the sudden abruptly came to an end." That's what they mean when they say contractual interference. They are accusing Priest's managerial team of pushing Baxter out so they could represent Halford outside of Priest.
Baxter also posted disparaging comments on Halford's personal website after he was dismissed, which prompted the band to post a statement on its own site over the summer. It read as follows:
"There has recently been some nonsense and propaganda posted on the Internet including on Rob's website, regarding the band and management. (Rob currently is not controlling his website and absolutely does not agree with the comments). We refuse to get drawn into any public arguments - it is below us and will be dealt with legally. The band have always jointly made any major decisions and have been with the same management team for over 25 years. Everyone knows and respects them in the music business and we have ultimate faith and trust in the way they have always guided us."
What an icky, sticky legal mess.