Steve Davis managing director of SSD Concerts, one of the North East’s most active festival and concert promoters, has resigned following allegations from former staff about inappropriate behaviour.
His departure follows the hacking of the company’s Instagram account to display negative reviews of the company anonymously posted on the website Glassdoor, which included accusations of sexual harassment.
Northumbria Police said it had identified the person responsible for hacking SSD’s social media account, and the 25-year-old man responsible was arrested.
Despite calls from the Police, local media and SSD Concerts, no one has come forward to provide evidence against Davis but the controversy has reportedly led acts including Idles and Lanterns on the Lake to decline to work with the promoter.
Davis told Access that SSD is funding an independent investigation into the allegations, the results of which are expected in approximately a month’s time.
SSD was behind the launch of the 15,000-capacity This is Tomorrow festival in 2018, and also runs festivals Hit the North, Bingley Weekender and Corbridge festival. It also operates five venues in Newcastle and Tynemouth, and last year was responsible for a pioneering purpose-built venue to accommodate social distancing – the Virgin Money Unity Arena (pictured).
The temporary venue at Newcastle racecourse Gosforth Park accommodated a season of shows including The Libertines, Supergrass, Two Door Cinema Club and Maximo Park from 14 August last year.
In a statement on Facebook Davis said: “I would firstly like to say that it is vital to take any allegations of inappropriate behaviour seriously. If people feel they have been treated poorly, they should feel safe in speaking out and confident that action will be taken.
“There have been a number of online allegations, which have saddened me deeply. The seriousness of what has been anonymously alleged – and the hateful response to these claims – has seriously affected my family. They are my priority, and I will do everything I can to protect them from online abuse.
“I would hope that this discussion can be one based upon the evidence. I entirely understand why people reading the comments about us posted on Glassdoor would be shocked. If true, they would mean people had been seriously let down. But I have been publicly tarnished based on several anonymous comments posted online.
“It breaks my heart that this has had such an immediate and detrimental impact on something that has taken so long to build. Since founding this company, I have always strived to conduct business in the right way.
“I am sorry for any mistakes I have made along the way, it has never been my intention. I would never want to upset or make anyone feel uncomfortable. If that has been the case, then I am shocked and saddened and am truly sorry. I will learn from any examples of such behaviour.”