A security guard who has worked at the O2 Academy Brixton in London — where two people died in a crowd crush at an Asake concert last year — has accused other guards of taking bribes to let in extra people, according to the BBC.
The guard, who used the pseudonym Rohan, was part of a contracted security team employed by AP Security. He said members of his team would allow “a couple of hundred” extra people into venues in exchange for cash, with some allegedly making as much as £1,000 (about $1200) in a night.
“Our company knew what was going on and they knew the people who were doing it, and they did nothing about it,” Rohan said.
Reps for the O2 Academy Brixton’s parent company, Academy Music Group, as well as AP Security, did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
Rohan said guards taking bribes to let people into various venues and events (not just at the O2 Academy Brixton) was a regular occurrence. “When you let a few people in, they would text their friends, and they’ll text their friends,” he said. “And the bouncers started being greedy, and it got out of hand. And people wanted to come in anyway, without a ticket. You can train someone to the max, but when that happens in front of you, you actually stop… you freeze.”
Rohan did not specify whether he saw guards taking bribes to let people in the night of the Asake crowd crush, though he was working the front door that night. “It was like being in a car crash that’s been really awful — being crashed on and stamped on,” he said.
According to Rohan, at least some higher-ups at AP Security were aware that guards were taking bribes, because he’d been in meetings and briefings where the issue was discussed and some alleged participants were even singled out. Despite this, Rohan claimed, he never saw anyone punished or reprimanded.
The O2 Academy Brixton has been closed since the fatal crowd crush in December. It was already planning to stay closed for at least another three months, though on Monday, Jan. 16, the Lambeth Council agreed to suspend its license until April 16.