Derick Almena, manager of the Oakland Ghost Ship venue that burned down in a fatal fire Friday, was interviewed live on today's episode of the Today show. In it he apologizes, and says everything he did "was to make this a stronger and more beautiful community and to bring people together."
When asked if he should be held responsible for what happened, he responds by not giving a direct answer to the question and invoking Ghost Ship's inclusive artistic community. "We created something together," he said. "This stopped being me. This stopped being about me three years ago."
Almena also says that when he signed the lease for the building, it was "up to city standards, supposedly."
At one point, Today show host Tamron Hall quotes a former tenant of the space who said that Almena "knew it was dangerous," and that he "profited from this and never spent a dime on anything but partying."
In response, he denies the allegations and says, "This is not profit, this is loss. This is a mass grave." He also says he doesn't want to answer further questions from the show's hosts about himself, disagreeing with the "level" they are delivered on. "I didn't do anything ever in my life that would lead me up to this moment," he said.
Artists, labels, and venues all over the country are contributing to the fundraising effort for the fire relief fund.
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