Hedley withdraws Juno consideration, but keeps touring

The members of the embattled rock band Hedley say they have withdrawn from consideration for three awards at this year’s Junos and plan to “talk about how we have let some people down, and what we intend to do about it.”

Last week, the pop rockers were dropped by their management team and blacklisted by scores of radio stations, including the CBC, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations that had been circulated by anonymous social media users.

“As a band, we have decided to withdraw our name from consideration for any awards at the Junos,” the band said in a statement released Monday. “We do not wish to be a distraction at Canadian music’s biggest night or to, in any way, take the focus away from the tremendous honour that is the Juno awards.”

MUSIC Hedley MeToo 20180218

Last week, Hedley was dropped by their management team and blacklisted by scores of radio stations, including the CBC in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

The band says it is moving ahead with two dozen shows it has booked through March 23 because “the easy thing to do would be to cancel the tour and hide.”

The statement adds that the band intends “to start making positive changes, starting right now.”

The former MuchMusic darlings — fronted by Jacob Hoggard and including Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison — released a statement last Wednesday calling the allegations involving young fans “unsubstantiated,” but acknowledged they “engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock ‘n’ roll cliches.”

Few signs of controversy

The band continued its tour Monday night at the Molson Centre in Barrie, Ont., with a new opening act. On Friday, two acts booked for the Neon Dreams and Shawn Hook tour announced they were backing out of the rest of the shows.

In Barrie, Hedley was joined by Liteyears, a four-piece pop band from Toronto. Two members of Liteyears told CBC News they were not doing media and would not say whether they would be joining Hedley for the rest of the tour.

Nearly every seat in the arena was full and there were few signs of the controversy. Even fewer wanted to talk about it.

Those who did stood by the band.

“Whether or not it’s true, they already admitted they have a rock star lifestyle [so] whatever,” said Erin Power, who travelled from Lindsay, Ont., for the concert.

Hedley in Barrie

The band says it is moving ahead with two dozen shows it has booked, including stops in Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

“Their music has gotten me through some tough times in my life, so I can support them through the tough times in theirs.”

Lynn Holmes, from Oakville, Ont., thought it was unfortunate the band was being penalized. 

“I think it’s very sad and terrible the allegations out there. However, I believe that unless someone has been convicted, they deserve due process.”

I Stand with Hedley

Several fans lined the front row of Hedley’s Barrie show with handmade signs, which read #IStandWithHedley. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

Several fans lined the front row with printed #IStandWithHedley signs. The band did not address the allegations on stage directly, but Hoggard may have alluded to them while thanking fans. 

“Thank you for believing in us, and supporting us and standing by through the ups and the downs, and the highs and the lows, and the goods and the bads,” he said near the end of the concert.

The tour continues Tuesday in Ottawa.


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