Boy George and Culture Club members pay ex-drummer £1.75m after legal dispute

<span>Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy

Jon Moss, a founding member of Culture Club, will be paid £1.75m by his former bandmates, who have reached a settlement with him instead of commencing a high court trial.

Moss was allegedly “expelled” from Culture Club in September 2018 by manager Paul Kemsley, bringing his 37-year career as the band’s drummer to an end.

In 2020, the group said Moss was merely “taking a break from Culture Club” and “the door is always open” for him to return, but Moss had already launched a legal case against his bandmates – frontman Boy George, guitarist Roy Hay and bassist Michael Craig – claiming he was owed £188,000 in lost income under the terms of a tour contract.

He later amended the claim to allege that Boy George had attempted to defraud him out of what he was owed, after tour funds were released to a company reportedly owned by Boy George. The singer claimed the allegation of fraud was a “personal attack” and “entirely untrue”. Moss also attempted to prevent Boy George from selling his Hampstead home, but the house was removed from the market and Moss’s application for an injunction dismissed.

A trial was due to begin next week, which would have assessed the value of the Culture Club name and Moss’s loss of potential earnings since 2018, as well adjudicating on the contractual tour dispute and legal costs.

At an earlier hearing, the court was told Moss had spent £1m on the legal dispute. His lawyer Tom Weisselberg accused the Culture Club members of trying “to cause [Moss] to rack up as many costs in the process, with a view, it is to be inferred, to discouraging him from continuing his claim”.

As part of the settlement, Moss must not use the Culture Club name, for example in concerts or merchandise.

In January, Boy George said of Moss: “I feel I have much to be upset about but I have to the best of my knowledge removed any real hatred towards him.” The pair were in a secret and often turbulent romantic relationship at the height of the group’s fame.

Beginning with their 1982 UK No 1 Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Culture Club became hugely successful, with six more UK Top Five hits and six Top 10 hits in the US that decade, including the transatlantic chart-topper Karma Chameleon.

Amid Boy George’s struggle with drug use, the band split in 1986, but reunited in 1998 – a new song, I Just Wanna Be Loved, reached No 4 in the UK. The group have continued to tour on and off ever since.