Pride Glasgow CEO Alastair Smith has resigned and left the organisation with immediate effect, saying he is “hugely sorry” to the community.
A spokesperson for the charity confirmed the move today, with Smith ending his involvement with Pride after more than 10 years.
A petition calling for his resignation attracted over 1,500 signatures after hundreds of people experienced problems accessing the festival in July. Further allegations about poor treatment of hosts and volunteers have also been made in the time since the event was held in Kelvingrove Park.
In a statement for Pink Saltire, Smith said:
“This year’s event was not without it’s challenges and I’m hugely sorry for those who didn’t get access to the festival. I know and trust that the team at Pride Glasgow will learn important lessons and deliver a fantastic event for the community next year.”
“I have had many great opportunities at Pride and have been privileged to work alongside thousands of passionate volunteers. I wish the current volunteers the very best and would like to thank them for all the support and the kindness they have shown me over the years.” You can read the full statement below.
Pride Chairman, Chris Laing, said he “wishes Alastair well for the future.”
It comes just weeks after Deputy CEO and Festival Director, Ross Stevenson, also stepped down from his paid role with Pride, for his part in the chaotic scenes caused by a ticketing blunder.
Glasgow comedian and Pride host, Scott Agnew, who had voiced his concerns about the organisation and his poor treatment backstage, told us:
“I welcome his resignation, despite it having taken him far too long to have come to the correct conclusion.”
“It’s a sad end for him considering the work that had been put in over the years growing Pride Glasgow. But the LGBT community can now move forward together and create something that serves all parts of the community and can work constructively with outside organisations such as Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and others, rather than being inward-looking and insular.”
Pride Glasgow has now paid out more than £10,000 in refunds for overselling tickets and faces significant challenges for 2019, not least due to a lack of confidence in the existing Board by members of the community. It has also promised over 300 people a VIP ticket for a future event as part of the refund process in July.
Pink Saltire also understands a number of outstanding debts are yet to be paid by the charity, which could stand at over £40,000 in total, including charges dating back to 2016. A Pride spokesperson said they were in discussion with HMRC and their new accountant over ongoing challenges at the charity.
Alastair Smith – Resignation Statement, 8th October 2018:
“I have been involved with Pride Glasgow for over 10 years in various roles. I have been instrumental in the growth of the event over the years and the delivery of the ‘Pride Life’ volunteer project.
This year’s event was not without its challenges and I’m hugely sorry for those who didn’t get access to the Festival. I know and trust that the team at Pride Glasgow will learn important lessons and deliver a fantastic event for the community next year.
I’d like to thank all the staff at Glasgow City Council for their support over the years and hope that Pride Glasgow can rebuild and establish new positive relationships with local government and that they will offer continued support.
There has been some contention and fractioning-off within the community after this years event and I hope that with my resignation, the community will work together to resolve issues and focus on the pride movement moving forward.
Pride will always hold a place in my heart but I have decided it’s time for me to hand over the rainbow baton and provide opportunities for new ideas and fresh enthusiasm.
I have had many great opportunities at Pride and have been privileged to work along side thousands of passionate volunteers. I wish the current volunteers the very best and would like to thank them for all of the support and the kindness they have shown me over the years – you’re all amazing and a fantastic team.”