The former official photographer of Guns N’ Roses has filed a lawsuit against the band and its management for copyright infringement, while accusing Fernando Lebeis, the manager, of repeated sexual harassment. Katarina Benzova, the photographer in question, worked with the band from 2010 to 2022, covering 364 concerts.
Regarding copyright infringement, Benzova alleges that Guns N’ Roses “reproduced, published, distributed, and sold to third parties” a series of photographs for which she held the license, and the band no longer had permission to use. On the issue of sexual harassment, the photographer spoke of numerous unwanted advances from Lebeis since the manager began following Guns N’ Roses in 2016. In the lawsuit, Benzova also accuses Lebeis of being aggressive and hostile after various rejections, citing “derogatory nicknames, absurd demands, humiliations, bullying,” and lowering her payment without informing her, in addition to not paying promised expenses. Benzova was fired in October 2022.
Guns N’ Roses responded to the copyright infringement accusation with a statement: “Mrs. Benzova began working as a tour photographer for Guns in 2010. She worked with the band for 12 years and was paid and treated exceptionally. Only after the collaboration ended in 2022 did she attempt to claim ownership of the photos despite her contract stating that they belonged to the band.” Furthermore, “The accusations are categorically and unequivocally false. This response comes after the band filed a lawsuit against Mrs. Benzova for falsely claiming ownership.”
Lebeis has not yet responded to the accusations.