Radiohead calls for public apologies over Toronto stage collapse


In the wake of a U.K. coroner's inquest into the Toronto death of British drum technician Scott Johnson, Radiohead is calling for all parties involved to "publicly admit their part" in the incident and to apologize to Johnson's family.

"At the beginning of the process, Scott's father Ken said that all he wanted was for those responsible to hold their hand up, admit responsibility, and to make sure that it never happens to anyone else," Radiohead wrote in a statement released Tuesday.

Johnson was killed instantly on June 16, 2012, when a stage constructed for a Radiohead concert at Downsview Park in north Toronto collapsed just before a final soundcheck. Three others were injured.

Initially, the concert promoter, Live Nation, the staging company, Optex Staging, and the engineer who signed off on the stage design were charged with 13 offences under Ontario's provincial health and safety laws.

The charges were ultimately stayed after two court cases failed to reach a verdict. The first trial was suspended after the original judge was appointed to a higher court; the second trial was thrown out after the defendants successfully argued the case had faced unreasonable delays.

"It is time for those others responsible to finally and publicly admit their part in this terrible incident. We invite them to to offer their apologies to Scott's family and friends for what they have endured, and to our surviving crew for the physical injuries and the mental trauma they have suffered," the statement read.

The statement comes two weeks after the conclusion of a coroner's inquest in Johnson's hometown of Doncaster, U.K. That inquest blamed his death on "inadequate" technical work and advice.

"In some ways, this is our last chance to comment on it," said Radiohead drummer Philip Selway. "It has been a very long process — in particular for Scott's parents, Ken and Sue — and I think it's addressing our last feelings on what has happened."

Selway said he hopes the band's statement prompts one last action.

"At the heart of it all, there is Scott, there's Scott's parents, who've lost their son, us as a band, and us as a wider kind of touring family, as well as with our crew, who've lost Scott. And actually having an honest response to that, it would mean just a huge amount," Selway said. "It would feel as though it was honouring Scott's memory."