Stage Collapse That Killed Radiohead Drum Tech Results in 13 Charges of Negligence
Live Nation faces millions in fines one year after accident
Live Nation has been charged with crimes stemming from a 2012 incident in which a stage collapsed before a Radiohead concert in Toronto, killing drum technician Scott Johnson. According to the Toronto Star, the charges were announced by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour nearly one year to the day of the tragedy, which injured three others aside from Johnson. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ministry of Labour alleges that two Canadian subsidiaries of Live Nation did not ensure that the stage was constructed and monitored in a fashion that was safe for workers. Live Nation Canada and Live Nation Ontario Concerts were each tagged with four charges — the ministry also charged Optex Staging & Services Inc. with four counts and engineer Domenic Cugliari with one, bringing the total to 13.
Live Nation released a statement saying that it “wholeheartedly” disagrees with the charges, and that it did everything in its power to make sure the area was safe. Ministry spokesman Matt Blajer told the Star that each charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000 for a corporation or $250,000 or up to a year in prison for an individual. If Live Nation is convicted on all charges, it could face up to $4 million in penalties. Earlier this year, the concert giant reported revenue of $5.8 billion.
The incident occurred June 16, 2012 at Toronto’s Downsview Park. Johnson — a well-known drum tech who had also worked with bands Portishead and Elbow — was reportedly crushed under debris when the stage crumpled. Radiohead canceled the sold-out show, rescheduled seven dates, and issued a statement remembering Johnson as a “lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny.” A month later the band returned to the stage in Nice, France, where they honored Johnson with onstage projections.