The managing director of SSD Concerts, Steve Davis, has resigned with “immediate effect” following allegations from former staff about the company.
The allegations, which were posted on workplace review website Glassdoor last week, were shared with screenshots on the company’s Instagram account, when it was reportedly hacked. The accusations include “underpaying” workers, “offensive” language and people being made to feel “uncomfortable” at work.
The company, which was responsible for bringing the world’s first socially distanced gigs to Newcastle last year, currently has an overall 1.4 star rating on the website out of 21 reviews from people claiming to be former employees.
The company initially denied the claims, calling them “false and malicious”, and insisting that they do “not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination in any form”.
Now, Davis has announced his departure via his personal Facebook page and the news was also confirmed to NME by his representative.
He 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.”
A statement from SSD Concerts provided to NME added: “SSD Concerts can confirm that Steve Davis has decided to resign as Managing Director and that an independent investigation will be held into recent claims. The wellbeing of our team is of the upmost importance and any allegations of this nature must be investigated thoroughly.
“SSD Concerts has already opened up a confidential email for anyone who would like to raise a complaint directly to our head of HR on HR@ssdconcerts.co.uk. In order to ensure that anyone who wishes to come forward feels confident in doing so, we will also be asking an outside organisation to look into the allegations and be a separate point of contact. We will provide more details on this as soon as possible.
“The company is also taking steps to ensure that all shows will go ahead and that all tickets remain valid.”
Davis added: “It is with a heavy heart that I step away from something that has taken so long to build, but it is impossible to ignore what has been said and written in the past week. It would appear some people have been upset or made to feel uncomfortable while working at SSD and for that I’m truly sorry.
“I have decided to resign with immediate effect and will take no further part in the running of the company. The board and management team will take the company forward and I wish them all the success in the future.”
In light of the recent allegations against SSD Concerts, we would like to make it clear that they will no longer be promoting our show at Newcastle City Hall on 2 February 2022.
— I D L E S (@idlesband) April 1, 2021
In light of increasingly worrying allegations made against SSD Concerts my shows in the North East will no longer be promoted by them. My team are working on alternative options and ticket buyers will be notified.
— Kelly Lee Owens (@kellyleeowens) April 2, 2021
— Sam Fender (@samfendermusic) April 5, 2021
Fender took to social media earlier this evening (April 5) to say he would “no longer be working with SSD.” Fender, who took part in the socially-distanced gig SSD Concerts promoted in Newcastle last year, said: “I’ve been completely overwhelmed this week after hearing so many shocking stories from our beloved north east music scene. It takes great courage to come forward and share experiences of mistreatment in the workplace.
“There is absolutely no place for harassment. We will no longer be working with SSD but have all been working to ensure that ticket holders for upcoming Newcastle shows will bot be affected.” You can read Fender’s full statement above.
“In light of the recent allegations against SSD Concerts, we would like to make it clear that they will no longer be promoting our show at Newcastle City Hall on 2 February 2022,” the band’s statement read.
Kelly Lee Owens then followed suit on April 2, telling fans on Twitter: “In light of increasingly worrying allegations made against SSD Concerts my shows in the North East will no longer be promoted by them. My team are working on alternative options and ticket buyers will be notified.”
Earlier last week, the Mercury-nominated Lanterns on the Lake told fans in a statement on Instagram they would also be “unwilling” to go ahead with a gig still promoted by SSD, accusing the company of causing “pain, stress and discomfort” to some of its employees.