Companies and people associated with Canadian pop-rock group Hedley are cutting their ties with the band amid a growing storm of sexual misconduct allegations. Today, the latest to cut their connections with the band include their management company, Watchdog Management, and agents at The Feldman Agency. As well, the band Neon Dreams have announced they are leaving the *Cageless Tour, *which they were currently on as Hedley’s openers.
The allegations began a few days ago on Twitter as former fans shared their negative experiences with the group using the hashtag #outHedley2k18, with some alleging that the members of Hedley gave alcohol, harassed, and engaged in sexual activity with girls as young as 14. Yesterday, Exclaim.ca published a story detailing an incident that took place at a Hedley show in London, ON in 2005 where the band was investigated, though not charged, after a concertgoer was found outside the venue drugged, unconscious, and possibly raped and evidence indicated she had been in the band’s greenroom earlier in the night.
The original allegations on Twitter resulted in CARAS/The JUNO Awards dropping the band as a performer for the March event in their home province of British Columbia.
Yesterday, the band released a statement on Facebook denying the allegations and saying, “in the past, when we engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock and roll cliches. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.”
This morning, Watchdog Management and The Feldman Agency released a short joint statement that read: “Given the multiple allegations against Hedley, we have taken the decision to terminate our business relationships with the band, effective immediately.”
The Halifax band Neon Dreams, which were the openers on the Cageless Tour, have also released a statement, saying: “In light of the allegations surfacing against Hedley, we can no longer in good conscience continue on the Cageless tour. We understand this choice could negatively impact our band professionally but in the end we have to do what we feel is morally right. We would like to thank all the amazing fans that have made the first 8 shows on the tour the best experience of our lives. We are truly sorry to disappoint anybody that has purchased a ticket to see us perform and we hope to make it up to you in the future.”
Currently, Hedley’s Cageless Tour is continuing, though they have announced that all media and photographers are not being given access.
**UPDATE, March 2, 2018: **
Since the original post above, plenty of other news has unfolded surrounding Hedley. First, on Feb 25th, the CBC published a story that provided a very detailed account of alleged rape in a Toronto hotel room by Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard. The alleged victim, who connected with Hoggard through Tinder, says she met the singer in 2016 when she was 24-years-old and expected consensual sex but says the encounter quickly escalated into an act of violent and demeaning rape by Hoggard.
In a statement to the CBC on behalf of Hoggard, his spokesperson says he and the alleged victim spent the afternoon together and had consensual sex and that “at no time did Jacob act badly or do anything without ___’s consent.”
Following this story, Caesars Windsor in Southern Ontario, where the band was scheduled to play on March 11th on the *Cageless *tour, cancelled the event.
As well, the the 21-year-old Manitoba woman, Taylor Bowman, who started the #outHedley2k18 hashtag revealed her identity and spoke to the CBC about the Hedley social media campaign. Bowman told the CBC she does worry about false allegations, but added, “”Part of me does worry about that because I do know that and I realize that false allegations can ruin somebody’s life,” Bowman said. “But with the amount of stories that I’ve received and the shocking similarities between them, I can’t not believe them.”
Following the latest allegations and the cancellation of their Windsor tour stop by the venue, Hedley announced that will complete their current tour but then take an indefinite hiatus. In a statement on Twitter, the band said, “Over the last two weeks, there have been accusations made against us on social media and in the mainstream media. As a result, we as a band, and as individuals, have been forced to take a long hard look in the mirror. No excuses are going to be made by any of us. We clearly have some soul-searching to do. That begins with us saying we are truly sorry, as individuals and as a band, to anyone who has been negatively affected by our behaviour. We have unanimously decided to continue this tour to the end. Following this tour, Hedley will be taking an indefinite hiatus to work on our personal relationships and who we are as individuals…”
During the tour, the band’s shows have received mixed attendance, but most appearing to be not very affected by the controversy swirling around the band. As well, the band’s fans have pushed back with the hashtag #IStandWithHedley and also a petition, which has received nearly 2,000 signatures, that calls on all radio stations who have stopped playing Hedley songs to reinstate their music.