Hedley no longer playing Juno Awards after sexual misconduct allegations
On Wednesday afternoon, officials with the Juno Awards posted the announcement to their Twitter account.
One day earlier, numerous people on social media accused members of the band of committing sexually inappropriate acts, and called for the band’s removal from the 2018 Juno Awards, where they were slated to perform. Among the stories are accusations Hedley preyed on girls as young as 14 years old. Many allegations point fingers at lead singer Jacob Hoggard.
“Enough is enough,” alleged victim T told Global News by phone. “I just went to Twitter and started sharing and asking for people to share their stories.
“I didn’t expect it to blow up the way that it did.”
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She said she was overwhelmed by the amount of response she received on the last day.
Multiple people told T that Hoggard offered to buy underage girls drinks, while others said he touched them inappropriately without consent.
Some of the stories involved underage girls, others involved those who were of consenting age (which is 16 years old in Canada), but even if the action isn’t illegal, T said it’s still an abuse of power.
“It’s an abuse of power to take these young girls who look up to them,” she explained.
In her own case, she said Hoggard grabbed her backside when she met him a few years ago at a bar.
She was 18 at the time, and said at first felt flattered because she didn’t know any better. But now, at 22 years old, she called the incident “messed up” and “sleazy.”
The cancellation revelation comes on the heels of the band’s statement, also posted Wednesday to the band’s Facebook page. In it, the band says there are “two sides to every story,” and they pledge their support to the #MeToo movement.
Here is the full statement from Hedley:
“All of us in Hedley respect and applaud the #MeToo movement and the open and honest discussion it has inspired. We believe these conversations are particularly important within the music industry, which does not exactly have an enviable history of treating women with the respect they deserve. We appreciate the bravery of those who have come forward with their own stories, and we realize that all of us, as individuals and as a society, can and must do better when it comes to this issue.
However, if we are to have a meaningful, open and honest discussion, we all have to accept and respect that there are at least two sides to every story. The recent allegations against us posted on social media are simply unsubstantiated and have not been validated. We would hope that people will bear-in-mind the context in which these unsupported accusations have been made before passing judgment on us as individuals or as a band.
We realize the life of a touring band is an unconventional one. While we are all now either married or have entered into committed, long-term relationships, there was a time, in the past, when we engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock and roll clichés. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.
We realize this conversation is as important to our fans as it is to us, and we never want to distract from these important discussions. To that end, as we move forward, we will be evaluating some of our next steps. Hedley’s music should only ever be a positive force, and our performances and personal appearances should continue to be inclusive and safe experiences that bring nothing but joy and happiness to our fans.”
The band has not issued a public reaction to their performance cancellation. These are allegations only, and no member of Hedley has been charged with any crime.
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Hedley is nominated for four Juno Awards this year, including Fan Choice Award and Group of the Year.
— With files from Rebecca Joseph and ET CanadaFollow @CJancelewicz
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